Clover Park Technical College’s approach to math education, which seeks to eliminate unnecessary educational delays and place students in college-level math earlier in the process, has received a significant boost thanks to a nearly $150,000 grant from College Spark.

The supplemental grant, worth nearly $150,000 over three years, provides funding to help CPTC implement both changes to the Guided Pathways model placement process and supportive co-requisite courses to assist students.

“Clover Park made a bold commitment to eliminating developmental math when we received the Guided Pathways grant, and these resources will help us realize that ambitious goal in order to improve our student outcomes,” said Tawny Dotson, CPTC vice president for strategic development. “As we redesign how we deliver education at Clover Park through Guided Pathways, we want to be intentional in finding ways for all students to succeed, more quickly. This is an example of realizing a challenge in students’ journey and finding ways to remove barriers to graduating and finding meaningful employment.”

The college’s proposal highlights an expansive plan to create a holistic placement process that involves one-on-one collaboration between college advisers and students to determine the best math placement, as well as contextualized co-requisite courses to ensure students receive the support they need to understand the necessary math concepts and apply them to their program of study.

“We’ll be providing this mandatory supplemental instruction so that students can go right into the college-level math and get the supports that they need to be successful in it,” stated Judy Loveless-Morris, dean of instruction for academics and co-creator of the proposal.

While the contextualization and co-requisite creation will take some time to implement, the college plans to pilot the new structure later this spring. The biggest step, according to the college, will be an all-new self-placement assessment, which provides students explanations for questions they answer incorrectly and information about which math course corresponds with each question. This will allow students to discuss their results with an adviser and make an informed decision about which math class to take.

The new placement process will be implemented at CPTC’s Lakewood and South Hill Campuses and will impact more than 1,500 students per year. The grant funding will assist with the creation of the assessment and the development of the contextualized co-requisite courses, which will be implemented in the second and third year of the grant. These efforts follow academic studies that have shown that self-placement resulted in more accurate placement, contextualized math courses led to greater student success, and students placed in co-requisite support courses passed math and graduated at higher levels.

“The hope is that the work we do here can be shared out to other colleges and start to really make the entire process seamless for any student in our system, especially at the technical colleges,” Loveless-Morris said.





Thumbnail photo courtesy of Clover Park Technical College via Facebook