Gains in College Math Readiness: Cohort 1


In 2013, the year prior to the SLAM Project, all students from High School 1 who matriculated to any CSU had a math remediation rate of 83% (17% demonstrated readiness in math). Additionally, only one student from High School 1’s entire 2013 junior class earned a Ready for College exemption through California’s Early Assessment Program (EAP). The 2013 junior class was the first population from which a SLAM Project cohort was selected.

At this time, 83% is used as a baseline remediation rate. The actual rate is likely much higher as most of High School 1’s students matriculate to California’s community colleges whose aggregate remediation rate is approximately 50% higher than the CSU average of 35%. Exact data from the National Student Clearinghouse will be available in the spring of 2015.

Cohorts 2 and 3

Cohort 2 is from a second LAUSD high school. Cohort 3 is the second group from the same high school as Cohort 1 (referred to as High School 1). Cohorts 2 and 3 are seniors in the 2014-2015 school year.

What We’re Learning

Although the students’ math readiness rate is substantial improvement over students without the intervention, Cohorts 2 and 3 demonstrated readiness at levels below Cohort 1. The following two factors may contribute to the decline: (1) LAUSD’s new scheduling system (MISIS) jumbled the students’ schedules and the prior student selection process was adulterated, and (2) a different teaching configuration was used for Cohort 3.

MISIS Crisis
In year two the student selection process occurred as according to year one, but the district’s new student scheduling system “My Integrated Student Information System” (MISIS), jumbled the schedules and many students were removed from the classes. The counselors knew the academic placement requirements (GPA between 2.3 – 3.1, not eligible for AP Calculus) but could not incorporate teacher recommendations, interviews, and the student/parent orientation session. From the MISIS Crisis, we learned about the importance of our placement criteria and process in selecting the students. For Cohorts 2 and 3, 57.4% (N = 31) of the students pre-selected for the program were enrolled in the class and 42.6% (N = 23) were later assigned by the counselors. Of the 31 students originally chosen to participate in SLAM, 74.2% passed (N = 23) the course. In comparison, the pass rate for the 23 students who were placed by counselors was 43.5% (N = 10).

Teaching Configuration
The SLAM Project is evaluating the following three instructional models: (1) co-teaching with a CSULA professor and LAUSD teacher, (2) co-teaching with two LAUSD teachers, and (3) one LAUSD teacher teaching alone. The professor/teacher co-teaching model is implemented first. Once a teacher has co-taught the entire course with a professor, the teacher is certified to co-teach the course with a colleague. During this phase, the certified teacher assumes the professor role. In year three, CSULA-approved certified teachers teach the course alone.

To date, the first two models have been studied with two samples of the professor-teacher model and one sample of the teacher-teacher configuration. Early findings indicate a 15% higher MATH 109 pass rate when the CSULA professor co-teaches with the LAUSD teacher compared to two LAUSD teachers co-teaching the same course. An emergent theme is that students react differently when taught by a university professor as opposed to high school teachers only. Specifically, the fact that a college professor was teaching the course was exciting for the students and caused them to take the course more seriously from the onset.

In the 2015-2016 school year we will study one professor/teacher configuration at High School 3, one teacher/teacher configuration at High School 2, and one certified teacher configuration at High School 1.

Participant Comments
  • I think the students started off taking the class a little more seriously last year when [the professor] was co-teaching with me.–SLAM Teacher #1

  • The interaction with an actual college professor and knowing it was a college class made me try even harder.–SLAM Student

  • I really like how [the professor] just came in and lectured. We’re very anti-lecturing here in high school but it’s what the students are going to see in college. The first couple of weeks were a shock to the students and it was a bit intimidating. They were like, ‘Are we supposed to take Cornell notes?’ I said, ‘She’s not going to tell you. You need to think for yourself. That’s what college is going to be like.’–SLAM Teacher #2

  • I loved the fact that we had a professor come to our school to teach us; that makes it more exciting.–SLAM Student

  • The students both years were kind of afraid of me in the beginning so all questions filtered through the teachers and the teachers would then ask me what the students wanted to know. So the students definitely react differently to the teacher than to me. They communicate differently with the teacher than with me.–SLAM Professor