Postsecondary Success Notes | Doing the math


The return of fall is the return of “homework season” at my house – the time when I get to wrestle with the math work alongside my daughters. 😊

My return to the world of story problems has reminded me how much math has shaped how I think and solve problems beyond building budgets or even calculating the tip at a restaurant. Math has given me essential tools for organizing and evaluating information, making and questioning assumptions, and showing my work.

That’s why I am excited for our K-12 colleagues, who recently announced their plans to deepen their work in math education so that more students experience math as engaging and relevant to their lives, whether they plan to pursue STEM careers or any other. Keep reading for more on that below.

I am also excited for the opportunities to connect their work with the work we have been doing in postsecondary education and in our pathways strategy to make math a gateway rather than a gatekeeper for students. Our partners at Strong Start to Finish and Every Learner Everywhere have made great strides in redesigning developmental education and strengthening digital teaching and learning, all with an explicit focus on math. It was no accident that Introductory Statistics was one of the first courses selected for our “best in class” courseware portfolio. In an ever-changing labor market, one that increasingly requires workers to be able to make sense and use of statistics, apply data in numerous ways, and consistently display critical-thinking and reasoning skills, students need a range of math skills to be successful in their education and career goals.

The challenge ahead of us is to ensure that our collective efforts are aligned so that students have clear and rigorous math pathways to and through education after high school. My challenge to each of you is to think about the ways that math shapes the work you do and highlight those for your students, because in the end, we all have the capability to be “math people.”


Patrick Methvin
Director, Postsecondary Success

Foundation Deepens Its Commitment to K-12 Math Education


This month the foundation’s K-12 team announced a 10-year commitment to make math the core focus of its work and investments, reflecting the fact that learning outcomes in math have been largely stagnant for decades and that disparities in those outcomes have persisted and even widened due to the pandemic. The strategy’s commitment to strengthening math education has several priorities: Improving math instruction by supporting the development and use of high-quality, digital instructional materials that increase student motivation, engagement, and persistence. Increasing the number of teachers who are prepared and supported to provide high-quality math instruction. We will do this by investing in strong teacher prep programs and in high-quality teaching supports and ongoing, job-embedded learning for teachers that aligns to high-quality math curriculum. Working with districts to help implement the practices, protocols, and systems changes most essential for supporting strong math instruction. This includes accelerating the use of continuous improvement to implement systemic, coherent supports for math instruction. Continuing to encourage stronger alignment between high school and college math course pathways to increase student success and support their career goals. Bridging the gap between research and practice – investing in a Research and Development agenda and partnerships to develop new tools and breakthroughs that get translated into classroom practice.

Quick Take


New Network to Tackle Equity Issues in Higher Education

This month marked the launch of the Higher Ed Equity Network, a collective impact network that brings together more than 25 organizations at the forefront of leading transformation in higher education. Its members work with and within two-year institutions, four-year institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities – driving change through a variety of levers, including advocacy, convening, research, and technical assistance.