The second Carnegie Pathways National Forum will be held at the Chaminade Resort in Santa Cruz, Calif., July 18-21. Beginning this year, the Forum is opened to the public. It was originally designed for members of Carnegie’s Networked Improvement Communities (NICs). However, as this work has developed, Carnegie wants to engage others who are interested or involved in addressing the alarming failure rate of students in developmental mathematics in colleges and universities. Mathematics faculty members, counselors, and student advisors, researchers, college and university provosts and deans, policy makers, funders of education, would be among those who might benefit from joining Carnegie at this year’s event.
The Carnegie Community Pathways program embarked on a bold initiative, beginning in July 2010, forming a Networked Improvement Community (NIC) of 27 community colleges and three major universities, to tackle the developmental mathematics problem facing higher education. Since then, mathematics curricula have been re-conceptualized, a new pedagogy has been designed, and effective strategies for student persistence have been tested and implemented — all grounded in cognitive, pedagogical, and psychological research. In addition, improvement science principles are being used to address what works with efficacy and at scale.
The event includes:
- Information about how the network has evolved and how to join Carnegie’s efforts to reclaim students’ mathematical lives.
- A Productive Persistence track where you will hear new developments and promising theories about mindfully improving students’ tenacity and good strategies.
Sian Beilock is a leading expert on cognitive science and the author of Choke: What Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To. Dr. Beilock reveals in Choke the astonishing new science of why we often blunder when stakes are high. What happens in our brain and body when we or our students experience the dreaded performance anxiety. And what we are doing differently when everything magically clicks into place and the tricky test problem, large presentation or perfect golf swing becomes easy?
- An Advancing Quality Teaching track where you will learn about improvement tools to test classroom practices, routines, and curricular changes to see whether they are making a positive difference.
Deborah Loewenberg Ball is the William H. Payne Collegiate Professor in education at the University of Michigan, and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor. She currently serves as dean of the School of Education and as director of a new organization called TeachingWorks. She taught elementary school for more than 15 years, and continues to teach mathematics to elementary students every summer. Ball’s research focuses on the practice of mathematics instruction, and on the improvement of teacher training and development. She is an expert on teacher education, with a particular interest in how professional training and experience combine to equip beginning teachers with the skills and knowledge needed for responsible practice. Ball has served on several national and international commissions and panels focused on policy initiatives and the improvement of education, including the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (appointed by President George W. Bush) and the National Board for Education Sciences (appointed by President Barack Obama).
Visit the Pathways National Forum website for more information and to learn how to register: http://www.carnegiepathwaysforum.org
Carnegie’s Productive Persistence (PP) Subnetwork is employing the tools of improvement science—using real student data, creating new ways to analyze that data, and conducting research in their classrooms—to specifically address the problem of student motivation, tenacity, and skills for success in the Community College Pathways (CCP).
The Productive Persistence subnetwork is a cross-college collaborative of faculty members and Carnegie researchers and staff who are organized to problem solve the improvement of specific drivers that determine whether a student remains in the classroom and is successful.
Drivers and Change Ideas
Leading up to the fall term, the Productive Persistence subnetwork team used results from previous Productive Persistence surveys and the research literature to identify three drivers that affect students’ social ties in the classroom: a sense of belonging, a sense that professors care about them, and their feelings of comfort in asking questions. These drivers were selected because data from Pathways students indicated that these were closely related to pass rates (C or better) and persistence rates (students enrolling in the next term of Statway). These drivers helped us to focus our work on areas we think can significantly benefit students. In the process, we developed a new way to conduct research, to gather information about our students, and to look more deeply at Productive Persistence. Based on this work, subnet members designed “change ideas” around one of the three drivers and then conducted Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles, a central improvement science tool, linked to these drivers.
Data is critical in testing ideas. Subnet members used data in ways they never have before. For example, members analyzed data on attendance and the number of students who asked questions, and designed custom student surveys on run charts, another critical tool from improvement science.
Aaron Altose from Cuyahoga Community College began to develop a routine where students received a “question card” they would hold onto each week. As students asked questions, Aaron then collected the cards and was able to track of the number of students asking questions. Aaron documented his observations and learning on standardized PDSA cycle forms. “Writing up the cycles was helpful for me,” he said. “I reflected more deeply on what I was trying to do and it helped with planning for how I would modify it, what I would expect out of it and what I would hope to see.” He said that he feels there is promise in his change idea, and will be continuing his PDSA tests during the winter/spring term.
Nicole Gray from Foothill College also tried new routines for data collection on student questions. She tested a process where students helped her collect data on questions asked in class. Consistent with improvement science principles, she started small by creating a simple form and getting one student’s feedback on the form. After a couple of cycles of getting more feedback, she had a student use the form during class. Even though the goal of the tests was to streamline the data collection process, there were additional benefits. “I also learned that the students are quite interested in participating in these things,” she said. “It helped them actually focus in the class more. They generally were excited about the idea that I cared about how students participated.” From her work, we now have a tool that can streamline data collection moving forward. Her next steps are to test routines that she thinks will further encourage student engagement.
We’ll post more soon from faculty interviews in Carnegie’s Networked Improvement Communities (NICs) about their subnetwork experiences. We have additional learning about instructional routines and we will delve into how faculty are dealing with the challenges of using improvement science to improve teaching and learning. Until then, we would love to hear from other faculty members who might share their efforts.
Besides newly designed curriculum and pedagogy in Carnegie’s two mathematics pathways, Productive Persistence is another key element of the Instructional System. Many students work hard in developmental math classes—studying long hours, nights and weekends—yet many of them do so using ineffective strategies. Others simply withdraw effort soon after the course begins.
To help more students successfully complete the math pathways, Carnegie wants them to both persist in their studying and attendance (tenacity) and to do so efficiently and effectively (good strategies). This is the essence of Carnegie’s work in Productive Persistence.
Early evidence from the initial pathways cohorts shows positive changes on Productive Persistence measures. Carnegie conducted student surveys with high response rates and found that after three weeks in the pathways, students had greater enthusiasm for math, they were less anxious about the subject, and they were more likely to believe that with hard work they could improve at it—a complete turnaround from the typical perspectives of students in traditional developmental math classes.
“While Carnegie cannot be certain that the interventions were a direct cause of the changes, we are heartened by the survey results,” said Jane Muhich, who leads Carnegie’s work in Productive Persistence. —Crucially, students’ ‘growth mindset’—the belief that they had the capacity to increase their mathematical ability—changed dramatically.”
On average, while roughly 30 percent of entering students could be classified as having a growth mindset in the Quantway™ and Statway™; this was increased to a majority of students, pathways-wide, by the third or fourth week of the course.
The indicators are especially encouraging because Carnegie believes that these self-report indicators powerfully predict whether students persist in the course and whether they obtain higher grades.
In this video, Andrea Levy, Statway ™ instructor at Seattle Central Community College, discusses her strategies to provide developmental math students with the intellectual and emotional support they need to succeed. Andrea is a founding faculty member in the Statway ™ Networked Improvement Community and served as a mentor to new faculty members at the first Carnegie National Forum held July 2012 in Santa Cruz, California. Watch video »
Carnegie Senior Partner Tom Toch reviews Paul Tough’s book “How Children Succeed” in The Washington Monthly. Toch notes that Tough maintains that “efforts to engender resilience, persistence, and other character strengths in … students” are integral to student success. This is reinforced in a New York Times book review of the Tough book by Annie Murphy Paul. Paul writes that Tough replaces the assumption “that success today depends primarily on cognitive skills — the kind of intelligence that gets measured on I.Q. tests, including the abilities to recognize letters and words, to calculate, to detect patterns — and that the best way to develop these skills is to practice them as much as possible … with what might be called the character hypothesis: the notion that noncognitive skills, like persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence, are more crucial than sheer brainpower to achieving success.” Both the book and Toch’s and Paul’s reviews underscore research by Carnegie Fellow David Yeager that has shown (as Toch notes) “ that even modest interventions, like teachers writing encouraging notes on student’ essays, motivate children to persevere academically.” Yeager’s research is integral to Carnegie’s work in Productive Persistence, one of the key elements of the instructional system in Carnegie’s two mathematics pathways that aim to get students to and through a college credit math course in one year. Through a package consisting of targeted student interventions that support faculty to create more engaging classroom environments and organize meaningful instructional experiences for students, our network faculty have strengthened students’ interest in this subject matter, reduced their anxiety about learning math, and convinced many students that they too can actually come to learn this subject. The latter is what we call developing a growth mindset.
On day two of the Carnegie National Forum, improvement specialist and associate, Lawrence Morales, introduced and launched five subnetworks within the Carnegie Pathways Networked Improvement Communities. The following post is part of the materials shared with the participants in today’s opening session.
Last year, Carnegie launched both Pathways across multiple states and colleges. This year, our Networked Improvement Community (NIC) shifts its emphasis to more formal and structured improvement work done by many of us in the NIC. One key way in which we will do this is through the formation of what we call “subnetworks.”
What is a subnetwork?
A subnetwork (sometimes referred to as a “subnet”) is a team of NIC members who are working on a specific problem, challenge, or development priority. A subnetwork has the following work-related properties:
- The work of the subnetwork cuts across multiple colleges (and perhaps pathways).
- The problem, challenge or priority the subnetwork addresses is one with enduring quality. That is, the work continues over time and is not just the creation of materials or resources.
The work of the subnetwork aligns with the master Pathways driver diagram (an improvement tool used to organize a practical theory into its key components for development and improvement work).
In addition to these basic properties, subnetworks currently have common structuring properties:
- Each subnetwork is co-led by a Carnegie-affiliated member and a faculty member.
- Each subnetwork is guided by a recognized charter. (A document that clearly describes the goals of the subnetwork and how it will do its work.)
- Each subnetwork will choose and use the appropriate tools to accomplish its work. (Not all subnetworks will use the same tools.)
- Each subnetwork will have access to content experts who can help inform its work.
Descriptions of Launching Subnetworks
Carnegie Leader: Carnegie Vice President Paul LeMahieu (interim)
Faculty Leader: To be determined
The Assessment subnetwork will explore the uses of assessment within the NIC Pathways, including the development of more diverse assessments for use in Pathways courses. Both Quantway™ and Statway™ will have separate work groups to develop these items. However, the subnetwork will also learn more about effective assessment techniques and tools with the intent of promoting these practices across the Pathways.
2. Language and Literacy
Carnegie Leaders: Karen Givvin (at UCLA, working on Alpha Labs and Lesson Study as well as Language and Literacy) and Kim Gomez
Faculty Leader: To be determined
This subnetwork will develop and test various strategies for reducing the gap in learning outcomes between students with low and high English language and literacy skills.
Carnegie Leader: Lawrence Morales
Faculty Leader: Nicole Gray
This subnetwork will work towards helping students productively persist by increasing their overall sense of belonging. Based on extensive analysis of last year’s productive persistence survey and persistence results, we have identified three areas we think we can address: students’ sense of belonging in the Pathways class, students’ beliefs that their instructors care about their success, and students’ comfort with asking questions in class. This subnet will use tools from the field of improvement science to do its work.
4. Quantway™ Development
Carnegie Leader: Cinnamon Hillyard (new Quantway™ director)
Faculty Leader: To be determined
This subnetwork will be improving the Quantway™ curriculum. The primary focus for this year will be integrating more skill-building activities into the Quantway™ curriculum. We will also be reviewing lesson length, building a glossary of terms, and creating more exercises outside of class to improve the course package.
5. Statway™ Development
Carnegie Leader: Karon Klipple
Faculty Leader: To be determined
This subnetwork will propose and prioritize improvements to the Statway™ curriculum. Members may be involved in the research, design, development and/or review of one or more such improvements. Examples include creating developmental mathematics supports, integrating the lessons and MyStatway™, reviewing materials, creating projects, and designing a bridge course to pre-calculus. The scope of the work will depend upon the interest of team members.
The theme of the first full day at Carnegie’s National Forum on developmental mathematics in community colleges was the power of networks. With representatives from 30 colleges in eight states who have implemented Carnegie’s two new pathways that take students to and through a college-level course in one year joined by representatives from seven new colleges who were learning about the work for the first time, the impressive data of first-year success was overshadowed in part by the story of the contributions of the colleges who worked with Carnegie to develop the pathways.
Carnegie President Tony Bryk emphasized that although the initial year-one data for Statway™ had surpassed expectations, the real celebration was that by providing information and insights from the implementation of the instructional system, Carnegie and the members of the Networked Improvement Community (NIC) were well on the way to determining what works for whom under what set of conditions. This key principle of improvement science in concert with other principles will ensure that Carnegie will reach its aim that in every college, in every classroom, with a diverse array of students, faculty members teaching the math pathways will be able to advance efficacy reliably.
The first year of data collection and working in networks has provided an opportunity to learn from each other to do better, Bryk said. In the opening session to the 250 plus participants gathered at the Forum, Bryk said the key to the success is “to take the specialized knowledge in this room to make it accessible to everyone.”
Carnegie is now on version 2.0 of the Statway™ materials and going through a similar process for Quantway™. Data has been collected throughout the first year on the students, on faculty, on teaching successes and failures, on the efficacy of the materials, on classrooms and on the institutions, with the goal to use that data to improve what happens every day in each classroom.
“Having good materials isn’t sufficient for getting to student success reliably,” Bryk said. “Knowing how to use the materials well—that’s the key.”
Examples of the ‘knowledge how’ can be explained through learning Carnegie got from the NIC around productive persistence. Carnegie knew that a sense of social belonging was one of the key predictors of a student persisting through the pathway (staying in the course the entire semester). Some of the colleges followed Carnegie’s starter package instruction on implementation of supports for social belonging, but others tweaked it a bit. Those that tweaked it, got better results, showing that Carnegie could improve upon that package. In another instance, the implementation of the design of the materials created by Carnegie and the network really mattered. Those who changed the materials on how to shift a fixed student mindset did not get as positive results as others that followed the pathways materials. Collecting this data, improving on what works and changing what doesn’t, is one of the ways that Carnegie’s work is different from other efforts to improve the success rate of students in developmental math.
“We have activated a community where transparency and trust provides an opportunity for us as a community to learn from each other to improve.” Bryk said.
Some people refer to Carnegie’s pathways—Statway™ and Quantway™—as college courses. And while students do register for them as a course, they are actually an instructional system. This system includes some key components:
1. Ambitious learning goals leading to deep and long lasting understanding;
2. Lessons and out-of-class materials to advance these goals;
3. Formative and summative assessments, including end of module and end of course assessments;
4. Productive Persistence – an evidence-based package of practical student activities and faculty actions integrated throughout the instructional system to increase student motivation, tenacity and skills for success;
5. Language and literacy component which interweaves necessary supports in instructional materials and classroom activities so that learning is accessible to all;
6. Advancing teaching component to provide instructors with the knowledge, skills, and habits necessary to experience efficacy in initial use and develop increasing expertise over time. This dimension is essential in seeking to reduce the variability in outcomes; and
7. Analytics to support the continuous improvement of teaching and of the materials.
For developmental math students, having an instructional system with these components more effectively addresses their social and emotional barriers to learning. For the faculty member, it means, among other things, sharing in the development of curriculum and instructional materials across the Network. For the institution, it means there is data collection and analysis of their students’ progress, down to each class section.
As illustrated by the components of the system, Carnegie is combining the worlds of research and practice in cognitive science, psychology, mathematics education, and pedagogy. To ensure the success of the pathways, campus teams participate in monthly conference calls with other teams and are supported by the Network. Faculty members integrate the instructional system components and assume the role of co-developers in a process that supports continuous improvement.
The key to Carnegie’s work is that members of the NIC work together toward one goal: the transformation of developmental mathematics education.
Teams from 40 colleges and 10 states will travel to Santa Cruz, California, starting July 22nd to participate in Carnegie’s first National Forum on the community college mathematics pathways. Working with Carnegie staff and faculty members who have already taught Statway™ and Quantway™, new teams will delve into the curriculum, get comfortable with the student online out-of-class platform, and dig deeper into how to implement new productive persistence activities and interventions into their teaching and remove language and literacy barriers. Experienced teams will be able to examine data from their classrooms and colleges and understand how to use the data to improve student success. They will talk through the expectations and benefits of being a part of the Carnegie Networked Improvement Communities, and they will get more comfortable with Carnegie’s online collaboration tools. I will be blogging throughout the Forum, so stay tuned.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is launching the Carnegie Alpha Lab Research Network to engage academic researchers from diverse fields to assist the Foundation in its mathematics Pathways initiative.
The Pathways – Statway™ and Quantway™— address the problem of the high failure rate of community college students in developmental mathematics. The goal is to dramatically increase from 5 percent to 50 percent the percentage of students to achieve transferable college math credit within one year of continuous enrollment.
The Carnegie Alpha Lab Research Network is a National Science Foundation funded project that aims to coordinate the efforts of researchers interested in leveraging their own research expertise to improve the Carnegie Pathways. In addition, the Network will support pre-doctoral students who, in collaboration with their mentors, will engage in early-stage research as part of the Network.
In contrast to the traditional approach to educational research, researchers in the Carnegie Alpha Lab Research Network will work within priorities set by a networked improvement community working on the same problem of practice.
Researchers will work on two types of projects: ones designed to deepen Carnegie’s understanding of the problem, both theoretical and empirical; and projects designed to develop and test theory-based solutions to network challenges.
The Network is headquartered at the University of California, Los Angeles under the direction of Jim Stigler and Karen Givvin.
For more information on the Carnegie Alpha Lab Research Network or to join the mailing list, visit www.carnegiealphalabs.org.