Transitional Math Website


Why transitional math?

  • Let’s create math courses that are applicable to students’ career goals and will assist them in becoming college and career ready!
  • 49% of Illinois high school graduates enrolling as full-time freshmen in Illinois community colleges require remedial education. Meaning, they do not meet the requirements to place into a 100-level (or higher) course and need to take developmental courses in order to gain the skills needed for transfer-level courses.
  • 41% of Illinois high school graduates enrolling as full-time freshmen in Illinois community colleges require remedial math courses.
  • Complete College America states that nationally 52% of community college students need remedial course work. Of those students, only 22% complete the remediation and associated college-level courses within two years.
  • Many students entering into remedial math courses have struggled with math their entire lives, so requiring just “another math course” was not a great message to send. These courses needed to be applicable to a student’s career goals.

Three Pathways

The transitional math courses should be applicable to a student’s career goals. Therefore three pathways have been developed:

    • STEM: for students whose career goals are in the Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics fields. These students require advanced algebraic skills or are calculus bound.  Students will focus on a traditional math pathway to gain skills needed to succeed in algebra-heavy coursework.  This pathway may also include business majors.
    • Technical: for students whose career goals are in the technical fields.  These students do not require calculus, advanced algebra, or advanced statistics.  Students will see the application to their specific career goal.
    • Quantitative Literacy/Statistics: for students whose career goals are outside of STEM or technical fields.  These students will focus on statistics, data analysis, problem solving, and quantitative literacy.  Students will understand the meaning behind the math and be able to explain it.

Note: The PWR Act has a small provision for transitional reading and communication. It states that ISBE, ICCB, and IBHE will jointly establish a statewide panel to recommend competencies for reading and communication aligned to ISBE standards. If these standards are met, then the student can place into appropriate community college general education core curriculum communications courses.  The panel will recommend strategies to embed the developmental competencies into high school coursework.

What does this look like for the student?

In 11th grade, a determination will be made as to a student’s projected college-level readiness.

    • If a student is projected ready, they can chose if they would like to take a 4th year of high school math.  This 4th year of math can be transitional math or another rigorous 12th grade math course (such as dual credit or AP)
    • If a student is not projected ready, they have the option to complete transition math. Upon successful completion of transition math, students will be placed into the appropriate pathway’s college-level math courses at a community college.  If a student choses not to take transitional math or does not successfully complete the transition math course, a student is subject to the general placement process of the college; this usually includes a placement test.

At the end of the first semester of 11th grade, students will be pre-placed into one of the three pathways by their high school. At the end of the students’ 11th grade year, adjustments will be made on this placement, if necessary. If a student has an unknown career goal, they will be placed into the quantitative literacy pathway. If the student decides to take transitional math in their 12th grade year, they will take the pathway in which they were placed.  Note: even if a student is not projected as ready, they can still take transitional math.

Student Perspective Flowchart

What does the panel look like?

  • The statewide panel is created by ISBE, ICCB, and IBHE with IMACC (link to IMACC website) playing an advisory role. It will include members from across the state including: high school teachers, high school administrators, community college faculty, community college administration, university faculty, university administration, board representation, and private sector employees.
  • Note: there are three subcommittee panels, one for each pathway, which include similar representation

Charges to the Statewide Panel

  • Define transitional math competencies which are aligned to ISBE standards and requirements. These competencies will associate with the three pathways.
    *The panel will make recommendations on whether a separate pathway should be included with career goals involving advanced statistics.
  • Recommend statewide criteria for determining projected readiness of 11th grade students for college-level math in the three pathways. This criteria must include multiple measures: standardized assessment results, GPA, and course completion. The panel will determine a minimum level of math knowledge needed to be placed into transitional math courses.
  • Along with ISBE, ICCB, and IBHE, the panel will create and administer procedures for approving transitional math courses. These courses must be portable (subject to funding).
  • Provide recommendations for methods to incorporate transitional mathematics competencies into integrated courses.

How will the state support the process?

  • Transcripted transitional math can be claimed for reimbursement for community college funding purposes.
  • At least 2 collaborative efforts among school districts and postsecondary institutions will be developed to model transitional mathematics instructional units (subject to funding). At least one of these will be highly modularized for blended-learning delivery, including: pre-assessments, self-paced study, transition math modules to be included in integrated courses of competency-based learning systems, or dual credit completion.
  • The state will identify and publicize courses that meet the statewide portability requirements.
  • The state will develop a model agreement for high schools and community colleges.
  • Reports will be provided to high schools and community colleges which will include:
    • Determining 11th grade projected readiness for college-level math courses
    • Comparisons between students who completed transitional math and those who took the traditional developmental math route

ICCB’s Role

  • ICCB will hold a place on the panels for the three pathways as well as the statewide panel.
  • ICCB will aid in creating and administering procedures for approving transitional math courses.
  • ICCB will encourage portability with the transitional math courses.
  • ICCB will encourage collaboration between high schools and community colleges when it comes to instruction, placement, and development of the courses.
  • ICCB, along with other agencies, will support 2 collaborative efforts to develop model transition math instruction.
  • Transitional math instruction that has been transcripted by a community college can be claimed for reimbursement from ICCB.
  • Along with ISBE, ICCB will publicize transitional math courses that can be taught online or in blended classrooms, provide reports to high schools and community colleges, and develop a model agreement.
  • Along with ISBE, ICCB will issue a report that analyzes the results, best practices, and challenges of school districts and community colleges that have implemented transition math.
  • ICCB will also support this work through the Bridging the Gap Grant

Implementation Timeline

  • By June 30, 2018: the statewide panel will define competencies and criteria for determining projected readiness for college-level math, and the high school and postsecondary institutions will develop the model for transition math instructional units (subject to funding). IBHE will adopt the requirements for public universities and publicize that information.
  • By June 30, 2019: ISBE and ICCB will establish an implementation plan and benchmarks that will lead to statewide implementation of transition math instruction in all participating high schools. Implementation will be contingent upon:
    • Availability of public and private resources needed for implementation of statewide panel and administration of statewide portability
    • Availability of at least one fully online or blended-learning course
    • The right of school boards to opt out of implementation
      • A school district can opt out of implementation of transition math if the school board feels the cost of implementation outweighs the benefits to students and families. This will be reported to ISBE.
  • By the 2019-2020 school year: School boards of school districts serving 9-12 grades can implement transition math instruction preparing students for at least one of the three pathways. If the schoolboard and the associated community college receive a grant, the community college will enter into a partnership agreement with the high school and provide support for implementation using ICCB timelines.
  • By June 30, 2020: IBHE will publicly report on the adoption criteria and continue to do so at least every 2 years.
  • By June 30, 2022: A report will be issued from ISBE and ICCB that analyzes the results, best practices, and challenges of school districts and community colleges that have implemented transition math.

NIU Transitional Math Website