View Only

IMPACT Plus - Equity in the STEM Pathway

By Helen Burn posted 10-16-2020 15:22:49


A major concern in the mathematics pathways movement is about racial equity within the different pathways. Of particular concern nationally is the STEM mathematics pathway, which for decades has suffered from underrepresentation of racially minoritized (URM) students. It’s time to double-down on our commitment to racial equity in the STEM math pathway in two-year colleges. Now more than ever racially minoritized students are suffering disproportionately under the double crisis of police violence and COVID-19 disparities. For the past five years, I have had the great pleasure to work on the NSF-funded project Transitioning Learners to Calculus in Community Colleges (TLC3). TLC3 acknowledges the mathematics curriculum as contributing to inequitable educational outcomes for racially minoritized students, particularly for underrepresented racially minoritized  students seeking degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). 

As part of the TLC3  project, we developed the TLC3 Institutional Self-Assessment Tool that provides a validated set of equity practices that you can use  to identify and remove barriers for URM students at your institution in the areas of initial math placement, STEM math pathway courses, instruction, student support, and institutional responsibility. Grounded in research we conducted over the past five years, the Tool is designed to be sensitive to your institutional context and flexible enough to be completed by individuals working alone or in collaboration.

You can access the TLC3 Institutional Self-Assessment Tool through one of these methods:

As chair of the AMATCY Pathways Joint Subcommittee, I invite you to react to the set of practices and to express your commitment to building racial equity within the STEM mathematics pathway. 


The Transitioning Learners to Calculus in Community Colleges (TLC3) PI team consists of Helen Burn, Vilma Mesa, J. Luke Wood, Eboni Zamani-Gallaher and Soko Starobin (senior personnel). Other personnel include Reka Barton, Darielle Blevins, Claire Boeck, Anne Cawley, Frank Harris, III, Gabrielle Gerhard, and Chauntee Thrill.

In two-year colleges, students transition into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) math pathway through a college’s mathematics placement process. Required coursework can range from developmental mathematics up to or through precalculus, calculus I and calculus II. The practices presented here were developed based on mixed-methods research.