Developmental Math Reform

In fall 2012, Bunker Hill Community College’s Math Department revised its developmental mathematics curriculum at scale to improve student progression through the math sequence. Elements critical to the reform were a growth mindset and productive persistence approach, the integration of technology and lab instruction supported by a new Math Space, and a self-paced acceleration option in every course. Nearly 50 full and part-time math faculty came together to align learning outcomes and teaching approaches across courses. The reform shortened the developmental math sequence from three courses to two courses for the upwards of 90 percent of students who are non-STEM majors. (As noted in last year’s annual report, Successful Completion of Gateway Math within three Years rose by 14.4 percentage points, from 6.9 percent for the 2009-2010 cohort to 22 percent for the 2010-2011 cohort, an indicator of the reform’s success).

Accelerated Math

Building on the success of curricular reform, the Math Department has focused on further accelerating student progression through developmental math. The BHCC accelerated math model compresses two levels of developmental math (MAT093 and MAT097) into a single semester in the form of an Accelerated Math Learning Community Cluster. By the end of the fall 2016 term, a total of 1,227 students had enrolled in Accelerated Math Clusters. For each of the six semesters between fall 2012 and fall 2016, there was a difference of at least 20 percentage points in successful course completion between students who completed the Accelerated Math Cluster in one semester and students who took the courses in stand-alone format over two consecutive semesters. (See Math Acceleration versus Non-Acceleration data submitted via pdf).

In 2014, the Math Department designed two additional Accelerated STEM Pathway Clusters, one that compresses MAT097 and MAT099 into one semester and a second that integrates MAT099 and MAT194 (College Algebra) into one semester. In the three semesters between summer 2014 and spring 2015, 91 students have enrolled in the MAT097/MAT099 Cluster and 99 students have enrolled in the MAT099/MAT194 Cluster. For each of the three semesters between summer 2014 and spring 2015, between 60 and 97 percent of students successfully completed both courses in the Cluster in a single semester with a grade of C or better. This compares favorably to rates for students who took the courses in stand-alone format over two consecutive semesters.

All three of these Accelerated Math Cluster models, along with curricular reforms implemented in 2012 as part of the College’s student success agenda, are contributing to the trend of improvement in completion of developmental math requirements in two years. 2010-2011 cohort data serves as baseline data for these interventions, as completion of developmental math requirements in two years for this cohort would need to have been accomplished by spring 2012, a semester before developmental math reform and Accelerated Math Clusters were implemented in fall 2012. As the Math Department has continued to scale Accelerated Math Clusters and engage in continuous improvement of the curricular reforms enacted in fall 2012, the College is seeing increased impact on timely developmental math completion for each entering cohort.

Statistics Pathway

In fall 2015, members of the Developmental Math Working Group recognized the disparity in student success rates in MAT181 (Statistics), between students that tested directly into the course and displayed 70% successful completion (grade of C or better), vs. other students that came through the Development Math Sequence that showed only a 50% success rate. The Department attributed the latter phenomenon to an emphasis on Algebra as the prerequisite for all higher math, which may not be the appropriate preparation for a course in Statistics. With the disconnect between the objectives in MAT097 (Foundations of Algebra) and the objectives in Statistics, a small team of math faculty created and piloted a developmental math course better aligned with Statistics, called Pre-Statistics. After the course ran as a pilot, it was institutionalized as MAT 098 Pre-Statistics and has now been offered for four semesters. The next phase of this development continued into spring 2017 with the approval of a new co-requisite Learning Communities Cluster pairing a developmental math course, MAT 098 (Pre-Statistics) with MAT 181 (Statistics). Students successfully passing this cluster with a C or better receive 3 college level credits.


In September 2016 the MA Department of Higher Education released a memorandum to all Community College and State University Presidents, stating that Massachusetts has joined 15 states in committing to scale co-requisite remediation in English and Mathematics by 2019. To this end, Bunker Hill Community College faculty and staff, along with other MA institutions, were invited to a Co-requisite Remediation at Scale Institute in October of 2016. This conference was hosted by the Department of Higher Education, in partnership with Complete College America and the Guided Pathways to Success in STEM TAACCCT Round IV Statewide Office. The main piece of research referenced at the institute was “Core Principles for Transforming Remediation within a Comprehensive Student Success Strategy”, a 2015 joint statement released by Achieving the Dream, Complete College America, Dana Center and other groups, that speaks to the need for systemic change to increase student success in higher education. From this conference, the main charge to MA institutions was to develop campus work plans to begin scaling up or offering co-requisite courses at their institutions.

To meet the DHE’s aggressive goal of scaling co-requisite remediation in Mathematics by 2019, BHCC’s Math Department set an internal goal of scaling the STEM co-requisite MAT099/194 College Algebra cluster to 12 sections and non-STEM MAT098/181 Statistics clusters to 16 sections by spring 2019. Since over 80 percent of Bunker Hill Community College students are on the non-STEM path, proportionally there will be a greater need for the Statistics cluster.

In summer 2017, the Bunker Hill Community College Math Department convened working groups comprised of 14 full-time and adjunct faculty who met over three days for professional development and working sessions to develop curriculum for the co-requisite STEM and non-STEM courses. Combining a developmental math with a college-level math course is not a simple matter of attaching two disjointed courses together. The lead faculty in designing this curriculum were mindful of not only using the same approaches to teaching that have been successful in BHCC’s Developmental Math reforms, emphasizing Growth Mindset and learner-centered lessons that engage students through collaborative learning and teach students how to solve contextualized problems, but also integrating Open Educational Resources as part of the Achieving the Dream OER Degree Initiative. In this three-day workshop, faculty were trained in the use of OER platforms and in-class lessons. Working groups also used the opportunity to create contextualized problems and projects relevant to STEM and non-STEM paths.

As scaling begins in fall 2017 the Math Department will offer 5 sections of the STEM Co-requisite cluster, MAT099-194 Intermediate Algebra/College Algebra and 4 sections of the non-STEM cluster, MAT098-181 Pre-Statistics/Statistics course.

ID 16757

To contact this college about this intervention, take note of the ID above, ID #16757, and then fill out the intervention contact request form

Please note that for security purposes, contact information can only be provided to known contacts at active Achieving the Dream institutions.

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