Define goals.
Step 1
Determine which pathways are needed.

The leadership team defines what mathematics pathways are needed at its institution. If there is a state-wide or regional effort to establish pathways, it is likely that the pathways have been defined. For example, Indiana’s Math Innovation Council defined 5 mathematics pathways across the state’s public higher education institutions in a mathematics task force recommendations report.

At this point of the implementation process, there may still be many unknowns. Do not allow uncertainties to prevent thinking broadly. Determine what information can be obtained quickly and move forward. For example, an institution may need a pathway leading to calculus, a quantitative reasoning pathway, and a technical mathematics pathway, but there is uncertainty about getting sufficient numbers to justify a full statistics pathway. Determining the answer to this question may require learning about statistics pathways at other institutions or facilitating discussions with individual partner disciplines and transfer partners. In that case, it is appropriate to move forward by implementing the three known mathematics pathways and include statistics as a tentative pathway pending further research.

Step 2
Set a vision and goals for scaling mathematics pathways.

Setting a vision for scaling signals a transformation and communicates an institution’s collective transition to a new normative practice. The leadership team uses the information gathered and reviewed in Essential Action 4 to help the campus community develop a shared view and general understanding of what mathematics pathways means and what the institutional goals will be. Faculty and staff should start to see what the pathways will look like when implemented and have an idea of how the changes will benefit students and affect themselves.

The initial goals may be based on imperfect information, especially in terms of alignment of the pathways to programs of study. At first, the leadership team makes its best prediction of how programs will align over time, which will help estimate how many students will be in each pathway. These estimates will be revised as the work of alignment begins. Use the process below to help create a vision for scaling mathematics pathways.

Use A Guide for Setting Goals for Scalingview full resourceDownloadFile to support your institutional leadership team’s effort to set long-term goals. The tool provides a structure and process to set goals for mathematics pathways at your institution. Below is a sample vision statement and sample goal statements for year one of math pathways implementation.

Institutional Vision Statement All students have equitable access to and the opportunity for success in rigorous mathematics pathways that afford them the means to achieve their full potential and to meet their academic and career goals.
Institutional Goal Statements for Year One of Math Pathways Implementation

By spring 2021, our institution will:

  • Set College Algebra (CA) or Quantitative Reasoning (QR) as the default introductory college-level math course aligned to top 10 programs of study. *
  • Ensure students are appropriately advised into the default introductory college-level math course aligned to their program of study.
  • Ensure the institution’s mathematics pathways align with key transfer partners to support both transfer and applicability of math credits to programs of study.
  • Implement College Algebra and Quantitative Reasoning corequisite courses for at least 75% of students deemed underprepared to complete their first college-level mathematics course in 1 year or less.

*Institution will set Year Two implementation goals to address next top 10 programs of study for evolving alignment of math courses to relevant programs of study.

    In addition to using the Setting Goals for Scale process, the leadership team should consider the needs of students deemed underprepared, who are entering multiple mathematics pathways.

    • What is the percentage of entering students who are deemed underprepared for introductory college-level mathematics?
    • What is the developmental course sequence necessary for these students to be prepared to enter rigorous and relevant mathematics course requirement(s) for their programs of study? Is corequisite remediation offered?
    • Are these students able to complete their developmental course sequence and introductory college-level mathematics course in one year or less?
    • What are staffing resources (i.e., personnel) to support students who are deemed underprepared?

    Although the team may consider delaying setting goals for scale until there is more information about alignment, we strongly recommend not delaying. Most faculty and staff are unfamiliar with what it means to establish a new normative practice. Explicit information about what the “new norm” will look like helps everyone understand the breadth and depth of the work and how they need to prepare.

    Include occasions for cross-institutional stakeholder groups to review the vision and goals to ensure that they clearly articulate the institution’s priorities. Reviewers can use the questions below to guide them:

    1. If applicable, are the goals meeting institutional commitments for state-level action towards mathematics pathways implementation?
    2. Are the statements clear and precise?
    3. Will the goals serve every student well?
    4. Are the goals ambitious but reasonable?


    provides a framework for setting long-term institutional goals for mathematics pathways.

    (accompanying resource to “A Guide for Setting Goals”) shows a process for gathering different perspectives to set goals for implementing mathematics pathways.

    shares an example of how institutions aligned mathematics pathways with their programs of study.

    Step 3
    Create a high-level strategic plan to meet the scaling goals.

    The final step for Essential Action 5 is to create a plan for scaling the institution’s goals. We recommend making a long-term plan for three to five years with high-level action steps and milestones. A more detailed plan for each year is addressed in Essential Action 6.

    Keep the following critical issues in mind when developing a strategic plan:

    • Design with the end in mind.
    • Find ways to actively engage stakeholders.
    • Use multiple avenues to communicate the plan.
    • Consider implementing at full scale rather than incrementally.