College-Ready Math Initiative

College Spark Washington is investing $12 million over seven years in a new College-Ready Math Initiative to help low-income students graduate from high school with strong math skills and avoid remediation in college. The Initiative includes a variety of evidence-based strategies and programs designed to help students improve their scores on the 11th grade Smarter Balanced Assessment, which measures Common Core State Standards, and provide high school seniors with a ‘last chance’ opportunity to develop the math skills they need to avoid remediation in college or earn college-level math credits while in high school.   

The Need

The majority of Washington’s high school graduates are required to take remedial math in college. This increases the time it takes students to move toward a college degree, requires students to use valuable financial aid on course work for which they can earn no college-level credits, and dramatically reduces the chance that a student will earn a degree: fewer than half of the students who take remedial math go on to graduate from college. 

In 2015, students will begin taking the 11th grade Smarter Balanced Assessment; experts predicted that 70% of students will score below the college-ready level on the math section of this test.

The Programs

School-Year Academic Youth Development (SY-AYD)– Academic Youth Development translates the latest psychological and learning sciences research on student motivation, engagement, and learning into practical strategies and tools for educators and students to use every day, in every classroom. Working within a school’s Advisory system, this program for 8th, 9th, or 10th grade students is designed to strengthen students’ mindsets, attitudes, beliefs about their own abilities, and problem-solving skills to better prepare them for the increased rigor of high school STEM and college preparatory courses.

Intensified Algebra (IA) – This comprehensive, extended-period program (70-90 minutes, daily) is designed to help students who are one to three years behind in mathematics re-engage as motivated learners and succeed in Algebra I within a single academic year. The program is for eligible 8th, 9th, or 10th grade students, and combines an Algebra I course curriculum with growth mindset content.  

Senior Year Transition Courses - Bridge to College Mathematics and Bridge to College English courses for seniors who score below the college-ready level on the Smarter Balanced Assessment in 11th grade. Students who pass the course will be considered college-ready by the majority of colleges in Washington and permitted to enroll in non-STEM college-level math courses without additional placement testing. 

Equity in Higher Level Math – Research consistently shows that students who take rigorous math courses during their senior year do better in college than other students. Studies also show that many of the low-income students and students of color who could succeed in such courses are missing from these classes. A variety of strategies will be funded to increase access to and success in higher level math courses including school partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools.  

For more information or to apply for funding:  

For more information about  SY-AYD or IA, please contact Kristin Armistead.

To apply for grant funding for AYD or IA, please contact Barb Dittrich or Kim Reykdal.  

To learn about the Senior Year Transition Course or apply for a grant to implement the course, please contact Bill Moore.

To learn more about the College Spark College-Ready Math Initiative, please contact Heather Gingerich.

A printable flyer about this initiative is available here.