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Project Title:Eastern Kentucky University Mathematics Transitions InitiativeInstitution Name:Eastern Kentucky University Innovation Category:Student Success Project Director:Dr. Robert Thomas, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and StatisticsContact Information:(859) 353-2067, robert.thomas@eku.eduWebsite:
Project Description:The EKU Mathematics Transitions Initiative was developed by a team of Mathematics Education faculty in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. For the past three years, this team has assisted regional school districts across Kentucky by working with mathematics teachers to help prepare their students to be high school and college ready. They have also worked with the high school mathematics teachers to design and implement ‘transition to college’ math courses. Under the new arrangement, the transition courses, taught by teachers at the partnering schools, is based on the curricula and tests of the MAT 090, 095 and 098 developmental mathematics courses (no academic credit) at EKU. Students that pass the transition course and make a passing grade on the KYOTE, a Council on Postsecondary Education standardized test, will be recommended (if reading and writing scores are acceptable) to take Math 105 [Liberal Arts Math] or MAT 107 [College Algebra] upon admission to EKU.
Objectives:Eastern Kentucky University sought to develop mathematics transition programs in area high schools to reduce the need for remediation at the college level, thereby saving students and families’ valuable time and dollars. The transitional algebra course targets seniors who have successfully completed algebra I, geometry and algebra II, but do not have ACT math scores that allow them to enroll in regular college math courses.
  • When this Transitions Initiative was launched, Eastern Kentucky University entered into pilot collaborative arrangements with six local school districts to develop a math transition course. Today, EKU is currently assisting over 42 school systems.

  • Pilot data and preliminary program data indicate movement, on average, of 5 KYOTE points in one semester course, 8 points in a full-year course [KYOTE – Kentucky Online Tests – 30 questions].

  • For students enrolled in full year Transitions Programs, ending mean ACT-Math was 20.74 and median was 22 [Over half were considered college ready in Math].
  • Students not meeting the Kentucky benchmark or equivalent are moving up (on average) a minimum of one developmental level

  • (2010-11) Based on numbers of Transitions math students completing at least one developmental course, qualifying for either college credit-bearing course in liberal arts or college algebra, students collectively saved $2,209,800.  [Estimated for 2,530 students].
Challenges/Problems Encountered:
  • Half of regional high school juniors have ACT Math scores in the bottom 25th percentile [Estimated - Commonwealth of Kentucky ACT data for 11th grade students – all 11th graders are required to take this test. This is an estimate based on the examination of scores from 10 representative school districts.]

  • Internal EKU studies showed that over the past 10 years approximately 60 percent of the Madison County students (EKU’s home base)  and students in the 22 county EKU service region who took a developmental math class at EKU never went on to earn a college degree. Additional data for a representative group of feeder high schools showed similar failure and dropout rates.

  • When students begin with standardized test scores below benchmark levels and have to work their way up to appropriate standards and competencies that postsecondary institutions have set, they become discouraged, frustrated and, without necessary support, can be faced with an insurmountable hurdle.
Evaluation Approach:The number one indicator of college success is student aility to pass college algebra without remediation. [ACT College Readiness Standards]
Additional Resources:The transition program was featured in the Nov. 15, 2011 edition of Education Week news journal in an article entitled “Data Driving College Preparation: College-Going Rates Rising, Remediation Rates Falling” (http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/11/16/12data_ep.h31.html)
CEO-to-CEO Contact:Michael Benson , Presidentpresident@eku.edu
(859) 622-2977
Date Published: Monday, April 16, 2012