This year-long transition course is intended for 12th grade students whose academic performance prior to their senior year indicates that they are not yet ready to perform entry-level college mathematics coursework. The goal of the course is to ensure that these students meet a college readiness measure by the end of their senior year and are prepared for most entry-level, credit-bearing college mathematics courses, especially quantitative reasoning, statistics, or college algebra.

In contrast to other math courses that often have students repeat material in order to become college-ready, this course covers a range of mathematical topics that equip students with the skills to succeed in college-level math. The course focuses on application and uses a real-world approach to math such as evaluating reports from statistical studies. Additionally, these courses support students’ social, emotional, and academic development by covering topics like growth mindset, valuing mathematical understanding as personally relevant, effective collaboration, seeking help and acting on feedback, persistence, and setting and monitoring feedback. Students will leave the class prepared to succeed in college-level math and with additional skills to help them persist through college.

How does the strategy create more equitable access and opportunities?

The current system of mathematics education fails to meet the needs of many of our students. Black, Hispanic, and Pell students are overrepresented in college remedial education, and students who begin in remedial education are less likely to persist and graduate.

Math transition courses can help students graduate high school with the academic skills to be able to succeed in college-level math. The transition course also supports students’ social, emotional, and academic development—an often-overlooked aspect of education that research indicates is crucial to students’ ability to thrive in school, career, and life. As a result, students may be able to bypass remedial math education, saving them time and money, and complete gateway math courses more quickly, an early indicator of college success.

These courses, like the Transition to College Mathematics course designed by the Data Center, should be designed via collaboration with stakeholders from K-12 and higher education to develop a course that is rigorous, relevant, engaging, and inclusive and which aligns expectations for mathematical knowledge and skills across high schools and colleges.

What outcomes or benefits are associated with the strategy?

What are the budget implications for implementing the strategy?

Math transition classes can be implemented for a low cost per student. Costs may include building a curriculum, creating course materials, and professional development for instructors. Using a curriculum and materials that have already been developed, such as the Data Center’s Transition to College Mathematics course, is extremely cost effective. The online course is offered as an annual subscription service at a cost of $14 per student per year. Teacher subscriptions accompany student subscriptions at no additional costs. All student and teacher print materials are available as part of the subscription as downloadable PDF documents, but can also be purchased in spiral bound books from the Dana Center. Additional investment is needed to support professional development.

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What are the estimated costs for implementing the strategy?

  • Student subscriptions: $14 per student (recurring)
  • Optional student print books: $11 per book (recurring)
  • Optional print teacher materials: $60 per set
  • Summer professional learning: $215 per teacher

How will the strategy limit significant recurring costs while ensuring long-term sustainability?

Once a district develops a course or secures an existing course, the recurring costs are minimal and would include ongoing training and professional development as well as course materials for students.

For the Dana Center’s Transition to College math course, the online subscription is the only required recurring cost and is an important part of the learning tools for students. The online homework platform offers students targeted feedback as well as reports both for the individual student and the teacher. The print materials, both for the students and teachers, are all available in the online platform and can be printed at the school or district level or sent electronically to students. The summer professional learning session is highly recommended for new teachers, but is not a recurring cost.

What is the anticipated timeline for launching the strategy?

Identifying rising seniors who would benefit from a math transition course should occur in the late spring. Identifying teachers to lead the course and partnering with postsecondary institutions to design the curriculum should occur in the spring and summer in order to launch the course in the fall.

What internal and/or external capacity (e.g. personnel, infrastructure, training, etc.) is needed to launch the strategy? To monitor and sustain it?


  • Identify teacher(s) for the course
  • Develop curriculum and course materials
  • Summer professional learning for teachers
  • Identify students for the course
  • District leadership to champion the course
  • Information to parents and students about the purpose of the course
  • Execute a contract for course subscription (if utilizing an existing course)

Monitor and Sustain

  • Inform counselors about the purpose of the course so that they can appropriately advise students into the course
  • Professional learning for new teachers to the course
  • District leadership to monitor the effectiveness of the course
College Match Advising - Postsecondary Education - Invest Forward
Postsecondary Match Advising - 12th Grade - Invest Forward

What are the first 3-5 steps to take to implement the strategy?

  1. Work with postsecondary partners to develop a curriculum for the course
  2. If using the Dana Center’s existing course, schedule a demonstration with the Dana Center and execute a contract with Agile Mind for the course
  3. Conduct or register teachers for summer professional learning
  4. Schedule students into the course

What are potential challenges for implementing the strategy?

  1. Challenge: Identifying teachers in time for professional learning
    • Solution: Consider teachers with strong relationships with students and contact them over the summer
  2. Challenge: Identifying the appropriate students for the course and commit to the year-long course
    • Solution: Include the counselors in discussions about the purpose of the course to assure that students who are seeking college readiness designation are put into the course for the full year and that the course does not become a catch for students leaving other courses mid-year.
  3. Challenge: Establishing buy-in among higher education partners that the course will sufficiently prepare students for college-level math
    • Solution: Create a strong partnership with the local community college and co-design the course with community college faculty to ensure it meets the rigorous standards of a college-level course and create an agreement that passing the course will exempt students from placement in remedial math.

What are models of schools, districts, and/or organizations that are successfully implementing this strategy?

Texas, Washington, and Georgia districts are using the Dana Center’s Transition to College Mathematics course to ensure seniors graduate high school college-ready.

Bridge to College Courses in Washington were designed by the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to help high school seniors prepare for college-level work.

What are some additional resources for districts/states interested in implementing this strategy?