Rock Valley College
include Math Literacy for College Students,
Quantway, Statway, and the New Mathways
create alternative routes to or through college-level
math courses, especially non-STEM courses.
look forward to college needs instead of backward
to high school deficiencies.
emphasize critical thinking and problem solving.
use authentic problems and contextualized
Carnegie Foundation, UT Dana Center, & AMATYC’s New Life create pathways.
Different approaches are used regarding algebra and outcome courses.
First pilots of pathways courses begin nationally, including RVC.
Interest in pathways grows at the national level.
Policies change in several states regarding intermediate algebra.
Pathways begin to scale.
Large number of students in
developmental math only need statistics
or liberal arts math to graduate
Students pass dev math but still not
prepared for non-STEM courses
Redesign had addressed how we were
teaching but not what we were teaching
A New Pathways Option
In one semester (3 – 6 credits), Mathematical
Literacy for College Students gives a student at the
beginning algebra level the mathematical maturity
to be successful in statistics, liberal arts math, or
Prepare students for
Build college readiness
Built by faculty for
Variety of content to
address a school’s
Establishes a culture
of active learning
A doctor orders 200 mg of an
antibiotic for an infant who weighs
15.4 lb. It should be taken every 8
hours. The medication label shows
that 75–150 mg/kg per day is the
appropriate dosage range.
Determine if the dosage
ordered is within the desired
Traditional Algebra vs. MLCS Approach
Convert 10 miles to kilometers.
It’s not just…
“Can you do it?”
“Do you understand it well
enough to use it?”
Problems vs. Exercises
Problems require original approaches
and non-routine application and connection of skills.
A method is not necessarily clear at first glance.
Exercises require choosing and applying
They develop a student’s ability to
Skills can be developed through problems
but the reverse is not always true.
Solve: 2x + 7 = 10 Suppose you want to treat your
office team to lattes at a local
The drinks are $4.25 each, plus
you plan to buy a $2 scone for
You also tip the barista 10% and
have to pay 8.25% sales tax.
How many lattes can you afford if
you have $60 to spend?
For which salaries is option A
better than option B?
A: 5% raise
B: 3% raise plus $1000
Can use Excel to solve the
problem numerically and
Solve the system:
3x – 2y = -6
x = -4y + 8
New topics and approaches require the
removal of some familiar topics.
Difficulty level and expectations increase.
Focus shifts from “what has to be
covered?” to “what has been learned?”
Additional support is provided in the Annotated Instructor’s Edition.
Challenges to the
Strong knowledge of
replace beginning algebra
support an emporium
augment traditional sequence
4th year high school course
Algebra 1 Geometry Algebra 2 MLCS
Prealgebra Algebra 1Basic Math
Prealgebra Algebra 1 Geometry MLCS
Although sample sizes are small…
• 60 - 70% pass MLCS
• No statistically significant difference in Gen Ed math
or Stats based on prerequisite (algebra or MLCS)
• MLCS students pass traditional intermediate algebra
at a higher rate than beginning algebra students.
Longterm tracking will continue for several more years.