Transitions from High School to College

Higher Education Math Pathways and Entry-Level Courses

Did you know the sooner a student takes courses that count toward a college degree, the greater the chance the student will earn a degree. Yet for many students, remedial courses delay access to credit-bearing courses. In traditional remediation models, students take a series of remedial classes to acquire the skills needed so they can move forward to college-level mathematics courses. However, this series of remedial courses generally does not result in students progressing to graduation. Nationwide, more students need developmental coursework in mathematics than any other subject. Additionally, more students are likely to view mathematics as a barrier to academic success more than any other general education requirement.

To address mathematics as a barrier to academic success, Ohio’s public colleges and universities are developing entry-level, credit-bearing courses in mathematics appropriate to a student’s career aspirations. Rather than continuing to place all students in the traditional College Algebra to Calculus (STEM) pathway in mathematics, institutions have been moving toward creating different mathematics pathways. In these pathways, the entry-level mathematics courses align with students’ areas of interest. Mathematics courses other than College Algebra, such as Quantitative Reasoning or Statistics, can prepare students for many programs of study (such as health sciences, social sciences, liberal arts, education and business).

The image below is an example of a mathematics pathway model. The alignment of the entry-level mathematics course to a major may vary by institution.

High School Entry-Level Math Course to Possible Major Alignment

For more information on Math Gateway Courses or Guided Degree Pathways visit

Co-requisite Remediation

In addition to implementing multiple entry-level mathematics courses, Ohio’s public colleges and universities are using co-requisite remediation for students who are not quite ready for college-level work. This approach is in place of the long remediation sequences traditionally used. The co-requisite remediation model shortens the time students take to complete college-level mathematics courses by providing just-in-time academic and non-academic support while the student simultaneously takes the credit-bearing mathematics course. Ohio’s colleges and universities are strongly encouraged to build co-requisite remediation models for the first credit-bearing course in each of their mathematics pathways. Co-requisite classes help students get to their entry-level math class faster. This helps them avoid being frustrated by a lack of progress. These classes also help alleviate financial difficulties of paying for courses that do not count toward a student’s major.

For more information on Co-requisite Remediation visit

Steps for High Schools

What does this mean for high schools? It is important for district curriculum directors and high school guidance counselors to be aware of the changing landscape in postsecondary mathematics. Students now will have an opportunity to take different mathematics pathways in higher education, depending on their major and career goals. Curriculum directors, mathematics faculty members and school guidance counselors may want to engage their postsecondary partners to discuss fourth-year mathematics options for students. School guidance counselors will want to have deeper conversations with students about their chosen career pathway before advising them on appropriate advanced mathematics courses. Depending on their chosen career pathway, it may be in a student’s best interest to take a statistics course or a quantitative reasoning course instead of precalculus during the senior year. Students also may want to consider the pathways when selecting postsecondary institutions, as not all institutions nationwide may offer all pathways.

For questions contact Brian Bickley at

Last Modified: 5/29/2024 11:42:32 AM