Statistics-Based Developmental Courses Help College Students Succeed

Jill Feldman

New research compares the effects of developmental statistics-based courses to traditional algebra-based courses in helping students succeed in the math required by most social science and humanities majors. Westat staff coauthored the findings: Results of Maryland’s System-Level Developmental Mathematics Pathway Initiative (PDF), which appear in MathAMATYC Educator.

Atsushi Miyaoka

Jill Feldman, Ph.D., Atsushi Miyaoka, M.A., and Matthew Finster, Ph.D., of Westat; Jennifer Flynn of Vanguard; and Tara Dunderdale of AARP discuss the findings. “We found ‘treatment’ students (those who took the statistics pathway) were significantly more likely to pass developmental math and made fewer attempts than comparison students (those who took the algebra-based pathway). Treatment students were also significantly more likely to enroll in a credit-bearing course compared to enrollment rates among students in the comparison group,” notes Dr. Feldman.

Matthew Finster

“With systemic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in fewer students enrolling in college,” she continues, “ensuring the success of students who do enroll is especially critical, now more than ever.”

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