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​Arizona Mathematics Partnership (AMP)
Task Force Charge and Problem Statement

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Arizona Mathematics Partnership Leadership Team

April Strom (Lead), Chandler-Gilbert Community College; Daniel Corr, Arizona Western College; Gayle Galligan, Deer Valley Unified School District; Fabio Milner, Arizona State University; Marta Civil, University of Arizona; Mona Toncheff, NCSM: Leadership in Mathematics Education; Nina Corson, Pima Community College; Suzi Mast, Arizona Department of Education
 

Arizona Task Force Charge & Timeline:

Develop a common vision for robust and rigorous mathematical experiences for our students in grades 11-14. This common vision will culminate in a set of recommendations based on the work of the task force (May 2019 to December 2020). This work is led by the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS), an umbrella organization comprised of 18 mathematics and science professional societies spanning K-16, and The University of Texas Charles A. Dana Center. Task forces across the nation are working on three issues with which the professional societies have wrestled and toward which they can contribute insight to the following: (1) Responding to the changing role of mathematics in the economy, (2) Ensuring college readiness today and tomorrow, (3) Articulating the mathematical pathways that will serve all students.
 

Arizona Task Force Goals

  • Goal 1: We will recruit task force team members from all stakeholders that include the following: (1) K-12 teachers, leaders (district, campus, Board) and 2 students; (2) Two-year College faculty, administrators, and 1 student; (3) Four-year University faculty, administrators, and 1 student; (4) State leaders; (5) Industry partners; and (6) Mathematics professional organization leaders.
  • Goal 2: Collect relevant data to inform all stakeholders of current reality/state of mathematics in Arizona.
  • Goal 3: Create a common vision for aligned robust and rigorous mathematics which includes content, pedagogy, and equity (moving towards an anti-deficit narrative). The common vision will culminate in a set of recommendations to be used by the state for improving mathematics instruction.
  • Goal 4: Build collective efficacy and student learning in mathematics (create open forum for the sharing of knowledge.
 

Problem Statement

Over the past several years, Arizona has been embarking on changes to the high school mathematics standards and assessment policies to facilitate students’ readiness for college, career, and life. We recognize the changing landscape of the world in which we live and the subsequent need to address the leaky student pipeline in mathematics as students transition from high school to post-secondary mathematics, but also the very leaky student pipeline as college students progress from developmental to college-level mathematics.

College readiness in mathematics in Arizona is determined by the number of students who enroll and succeed in college credit-bearing courses within institutions of higher education (IHE) or in certificate programs that lead towards career advancement. The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) defines college readiness as students possessing the “knowledge, skills, academic preparation, and behaviors needed to enroll and succeed in introductory college credit-bearing courses within an associate or baccalaureate degree program without the need for remediation” (see http://www.azed.gov/ccr/standards/). While in the past the state measured college readiness through the AzMERIT state-level annual exam given in grades 3-12, this assessment has changed to AZM2 given through grade 10. It is unclear on how this new test will measure college readiness. The ADE collaborates with a state consortium led by Expect More Arizona and the Center for the Future of Arizona to track various data to measure progress changes towards collective state goals (called the Arizona Education Progress Meter; https://www.expectmorearizona.org/progress/?region=Arizona). The Arizona Education Progress Meter includes relevant benchmark and trend data to track the following: (1) percent of 8th graders who are prepared to be successful in high school math (currently 41% and trending positively towards goal of 69%), (2) percent of high schoolers graduating in 4 years (currently 80% and trending positively towards goal of 90%), (3) percent of 16-24 year olds in Arizona that are not going to school or working (currently 14% and trending negatively towards goal of 7%), (4) and percent of Arizona high school graduates who enrolled in post-secondary education the semester after graduating from high school (currently 53% but no change in trendline towards goal of 70%). While we are realizing productive shifts in many of our metrics, we recognize the urgent need to find innovative strategies to move the needle on the number of high school graduates who enroll in post-secondary education the semester after graduating high school. This is one area that the AMP Alliance team will focus on as part of our CBMS Pathways work.

In December 2016, the Arizona State Board of Education officially adopted the Arizona Mathematics Standards, which paralleled the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics, to support the teaching and learning of mathematics in the state. While continued efforts to support teachers’ implementation of these standards are underway, evidence shows that teachers’ do not have the support within their school, district, and community to fully implement the standards and practices with fidelity. Part of the work for the AMP Alliance team will be to look for opportunities to engage teachers and faculty in professional development to broaden the facilitation of the Arizona Mathematics Standards and the Standards for Mathematical Practice.

Currently, the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) in Arizona is undergoing a seismic transformation in developmental education (see https://transformation.maricopa.edu/guided-pathways). The project, known as Guided Pathways, involves 2 notable changes relative to mathematics: (1) starting in January 2019, students will be placed into a mathematics course based on their high school GPA and (2) starting in August 2019, 80% of students will be placed into a college-level mathematics course with integrated student support (similar to a co-requisite model). Discussions are currently underway throughout MCCCD and beginning at other community colleges around the state to determine how to navigate students into and through this new model of collegiate mathematics education. Certainly, these changes will play a significant role in the work of the AMP Alliance.

Recently, the ADE has established and accepted fourth year high school mathematics standards, including both a precalculus pathway and an option for quantitative reasoning which are aligned to the high school Plus Standards. The work of the AMP Alliance will certainly include ways in which teachers can be supported to implement these standards, but also informing community college and university faculty about the vision for what high school seniors should be experiencing in mathematics to better transition students to higher education.

James Tanton