Mathematics & Statistics


Developmental Education faces a number of significant challenges: 

  • low pass ratespage 29
  • low retention
  • decreased funding
  • increased demand

Course redesign initiatives tackle these challenges by utilizing instructional technology to strengthen teaching, improve student performance, reduce cost and ultimately improve student success. Here are a few ways schools have been redesigning their developmental math courses to great success.


Lab-Based (Emporium) Redesign

A Lab-Based (Emporium) redesign model can be a highly effective solution to high-volume developmental courses. Students use instructional technology in a lab and work through course material at their own pace. The role of instructors moves from front of class lecturer, to one-on-one tutoring when students need it.

Lecture-Based Redesign

The introduction of adaptive learning technology into a traditional lecture-based class can deliver better success rates, without adding cost or resources. By requiring students to use technology before class, lecture time is more productive and can focus on application.

Non-STEM Redesign

With many students pursuing non-STEM majors, a more efficient pathway to credit-bearing classes can remove hurdles for many students. These courses focus on just the math required to be successful in Statistics or Liberal Arts Math. The goal is also to build a greater appreciation for the role math plays in everyday life. Many instructors also take this opportunity to build critical thinking and group work skills.

Hybrid Redesign

A hybrid course mixes lecture-based teaching with a lab component. Faculty determine the most important topics they would like to cover during the lecture, then students work through the rest of the material in labs. Hybrid is most successful when faculty have deep data showing exactly where their students are.

Modular Redesign

A modular approach offers institutions a way to accommodate “partial” learning by letting students study only what they don’t know in order to progress more rapidly through the developmental math sequence. Modular courses give instructors the flexibility to define the content and timeline for each module in order to make it as efficient for students as possible.

Compressed/Accelerated Redesign

To help get students to credit-bearing classes more quickly, many schools are accelerating the pace of their developmental courses or merging multiple courses into a single semester. By compressing the work into a tight schedule, students are required to spend more time each week, but are accelerating quickly through the material. To gain the best results from an accelerated redesign, use an adaptive learning software that gives students credit for material they already mastered.

Alternative Pathways Redesign

Students come to college with different knowledge levels and different goals. An alternative pathways approach gives students a choice of which math courses will help them complete developmental math and prepare them for college level coursework relevant to their major. The pathways include an algebraic pathway for STEM and college algebra bound students, a math literacy pathway for non-STEM majors, and an accelerated pathway for students who need a significant amount of remediation and want to complete it in two semesters or less.


For more examples of successful redesigns, visit our YouTube page.

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