More Than Reshuffling: Lessons from an Innovative Remedial Math Program at The City University of New York

More Than Reshuffling is a companion piece to the previously released report, More Than Rules. The goal of More Than Rules was to describe the challenges facing GED graduates at The City University of New York (CUNY) and the work of the CUNY College Transition Program (CTP) to prepare students for those challenges. Early sections of that paper examined the misalignment between the GED math subject test and college math placement exams, the prevalence of math remediation for GED graduates, and the generally poor educational outcomes for these students at CUNY. The heart of the paper described non-traditional approaches to math teaching and learning in CTP, including content, pedagogy, curriculum, and instructor development. Student outcomes for the fall 2008 and spring 2009 cohorts demonstrated some promising early results.

Just as More Than Rules was released, CTP was restructured and became known as the CUNY College Transition Initiative (CTI). The new program moved “across the college wall” and is now offered as an option to freshmen who have taken and failed multiple placement exams. The most important new feature of the CTI math course was the significant increase in the quantity of instruction. That change has made it possible to examine whether an increase in instruction, while maintaining the pedagogical approaches and other features of the CTP course, could help many more students eliminate their need for one or both levels of remedial math while also making progress on a more extensive set of math learning goals. 

This paper will review the first year of CTI math. This is a “companion” paper to More Than Rules because the CTP approaches to math content, curriculum, instructor development, and pedagogy that were described in that paper also provided the underlying foundation for CTI math. If possible, More Than Rules should be read before this paper. 

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