Projects and Impact
We engage in both Grant-Funded and Institution-Commissioned Action Research Projects. All projects are designed to improve specific student outcomes that will ultimately lead to college success. Topics focus on improving academic outcomes or college knowledge.
The SLAM Project
The SLAM (Students Linked and Aligned in Mathematics) Project provides equitable access to rigorous college-level math courses for those high school students who otherwise lack such access due to under-preparation or a lack of availability, such as that explained above. SLAM also creates systemic alignment for mathematics between high schools and community colleges, thus ensuring that all students who graduate from partner high schools are more likely to be accepted to college and experience successful college careers.
To date, 84% (N = 1,889) of underprepared high school students who have participated in earlier phases of SLAM have earned college-level math credit. The program has a transformational effect on students, high school faculty and staff, as well as on schools as a system. Students who are deemed underprepared for college-level math are provided multiple levels of entry to a college-level math course. In addition to earning college math credit, students cite the experience of a college class while in high school as instrumental in preparing them for their transition to college.
The program also impacts administrators, counselors, and teachers as they learn the metrics used by their local colleges and universities to measure college readiness and how to offer opportunities and advisement to students so they can attain college readiness. Transformation also happens systemically, with the program requiring revised math course offerings and pathways at the high school that align to students’ post-secondary goals. To better illustrate the program and its promise, the following sections detail the evolution of SLAM from Fall 2013 to the present.
Phase 1: The South Los Angeles Math Project
The South Los Angeles Math (SLAM) Project was born from Dr. Lynn Cevallos’ dissertation, in which she examined intersegmental partnerships throughout California designed to address the remediation dilemma through academic alignment and found that these interventions were largely unsuccessful.
Instead of the typical basic skills remediation content that students find embarrassing, SLAM would give struggling students access to a college-level math course with embedded support that is provided for free, on the high school campus, and during the regular school day. By the end of the first three years, 165 students from six cohorts in three urban LAUSD high schools had participated in the project. The average SLAM pass rate was 77%, compared with an average of 71% for the same course taught at CSULA to college-ready students.
Phase 2: The Math Pipeline Readiness Project
The initial success of the SLAM Statistics pilot garnered interest from the CSU Chancellor’s Office and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to launch a STEM version of SLAM. With their partnership, College Bridge launched the Math Pipeline Readiness Project (M-PReP) to bring partner high schools and CSUs into alignment to increase the rate of STEM graduates in California. To help high school students graduate with a coherent strategy to transition into college, M-PReP also added high school counselors to develop, implement, evaluate, and revise a College Transition Plan (CTP) curriculum for SLAM students.
During this phase, 73% (N = 573) participants passed SLAM Statistics and 86% (N = 128) passed SLAM Pre-Calculus. Additionally, students at M-PReP schools demonstrated positive trends in Early Assessment Program (EAP) outcomes, with 11th grade students in the dual-enrollment SLAM Pre-Calculus course outperforming their counterparts. After controlling for prior levels, there was a statistically significant difference in performance levels between the SLAM Pre-Calculus and the traditional Pre-Calculus groups (F=4.08, p=.045).
Phase 3: Community College Expansion to Rural California
The first four years of the SLAM program served CSU-bound students in urban Los Angeles who were deemed unprepared for college during their junior or senior year of high school. The next phase of the project expanded to the rural communities of California’s Central Valley for students who were bound for California Community Colleges (CCCs). This opened the SLAM intervention to 91% of the student population at the partner high schools. All versions of SLAM included an asynchronous College Transition Plan (CTP) curriculum.
Building on the partners from Phase Two, three new CCCs and three new high schools joined M-PReP. One great success was the partnership between Dinuba High School and Reedley College. This Central Valley partnership resulted in a complete transformation of the high school, with over 33% of Dinuba’s 451 seniors earning college math credit in high school in the 2020-21 school year, compared to 0% of students earning credit though AP math during the duration of the project.
Phase 4: Schools Linked and Aligned in Mathematics
Now titled Schools Linked and Aligned in Mathematics, College Bridge is working to extend SLAM to 6-8 new California Community College (CCC) partners and 12-16 of the high schools in those CCCs’ service areas, positively impacting over 3,200 underrepresented high school students and more than 100 high school teachers. We are also working to fully develop, implement, and evaluate an asynchronous version of the College Transition Program (CTP) that can be implemented by SLAM teachers.
Additionally, the project will help College Bridge refine our tactics for working with high schools and community colleges in disparate areas, preparing to scale SLAM to more states during the next phase of the project and, ultimately, nationwide.