Taskforce Definition of Success
The members of the taskforce have developed a three-part definition of "success" in
Elementary Algebra course with respect to completion and persistence for:
Success, while open to multiple interpretations, was limited by the Taskforce to the following:
Increases in institutional performance; all resulting from the development of effective
'best practices' initiated by the faculty.
- Improvements in student success rates in Elementary Algebra
- Improvement in faculty development
- Increases in institutional performance; all resulting from the development of effective 'best practices' initiated by the faculty
The State of California has defined success as the proportion of students receiving a
grade of A, B, C, or CR when compared to the final roster(s) of all students receiving
A, B, C, D, F, CR, NC, W, or Incomplete. Students included in the count consist of all
those enrolled as of the first census date (end of the add/drop period). Significant
increases in this proportion are interpreted as 'success'. While a useful indicator,
the Taskforce concluded that by itself, this definition does not indicate 'student
learning'. Therefore, the ability to 'pass' Elementary Algebra provides only a partial answer
to the question of 'student success'.
The more central question for these students is whether successful completion of
Elementary Algebra provides a sufficient knowledge base for success in subsequent courses
required by specific educational goals. These goals may be the completion of higher
level mathematics courses, completion of a certification program, attainment of an
AA/AS degree, or completion of a course for which Elementary Algebra is a prerequisite.
For this reason, the Taskforce has concluded that student success can be best captured
using three measures, as appropriate to the goal(s) of the student:
The Taskforce believes that student attempts/success in subsequent mathematics courses
represents the single best indicator of both the degree of preparation provided by the
initial training in Elementary Algebra and the extent to which changes in pedagogy/content
resulted in increased student confidence and ability.
- passing grade in Elementary Algebra
- persistence in mathematics
- subsequent course performance in courses for which Elementary Algebra is a prerequisite
Faculty success results from the ability of the individual faculty member
(or groups of faculty) to develop or adapt proven programs or strategies and verify
improvement in their student's success rate. This requires both professional development
and support which together are anticipated to increase both the rate of active participation
in the change process and the degree to which individual faculty persists in efforts to
effect that change. Equally important are increases in instructor satisfaction due to
program participation and the incremental improvements in course content and delivery
resulting from effective programs.
Faculty success also may be measured by an increase in the percentage of their
elementary algebra students who pass the course each semester and continue on to
achieve their intended goal from those elementary algebra classes where they were
exposed to some new strategy, content, pedagogical approach, or intervention.
Definitions of Institutional success include traditional measures, such as:
- student retention
- number of AA/AS degrees granted
- certificates awarded
- rate of transfer to other segments of the educational system
Other measures considered by the Taskforce include the degree to which implementation
of successful programs improves institutional recruitment efforts by improving the performance
of transfer students, actual transfer rates, and employment prospects.