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ERIC Number: ED564295
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-May
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 45
Degrees of Freedom: Varying Routes to Math Readiness and the Challenge of Intersegmental Alignment (Report 2 of a 3-Part Series)
Burdman, Pamela
Policy Analysis for California Education, PACE
The conventional algebra-intensive math curriculum commonly dictates students' options for entering and completing college, including their ability to transfer from two-year to four-year institutions. The assumption that higher-level algebra is necessary for college success has led some equity advocates to promote algebra for all students. Nearly half of states require two years of algebra for high school graduation, and the Common Core State Standards being implemented in the majority of states have a similar emphasis. While the intent has been to raise achievement, the hidden underbelly of high algebra expectations has been swelling enrollment in college developmental (also known as remedial) math over the last few decades, especially at community colleges. This is the second report in "Degrees of Freedom," a series that explores the role of math as a gatekeeper in higher education. It highlights experiments with alternative remedial math sequences at community colleges in California and the particular challenges of aligning them with four-year university requirements for students seeking to transfer from community colleges. This report also examines math alignment from high school through college, revealing an underlying misalignment of existing requirements, and shows how the resulting restrictions serve to ration access to higher education. Recommendations for improving the status quo are included. [For part 1 of this series, see ED564291. For part 3 of this series, see ED564294.]
Policy Analysis for California Education, PACE. 3653 Tolman Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-1670. Tel: 510-642-7223; Fax: 510-642-9148; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE); LearningWorks
Identifiers - Location: California