The California Department of Education has awarded Sacramento State a two-year, $1.28 million grant, as one of five winners of the California Mathematics Readiness Challenge Initiative.

The grant will fund the new Sacramento Mathematics Readiness Challenge Initiative (SMRCI), with Sacramento State and the Sacramento City Unified School District as primary partners.

“Receiving this grant will allow us to invest in our partnership with local school districts and community colleges to better prepare our students for the demanding mathematics courses in college,” says University President Robert S. Nelsen.

“Together, we can increase math readiness and move toward the elimination of math remediation when students enter Sac State, thereby avoiding the costs and time required to take courses that do not count toward their degree. We owe it to our students.”

Studies show that most high school students are not fully prepared for the academic demands of college, particularly in mathematics. And, in turn, college-level mathematics faculty often wrongly assume that students have developed a cumulative understanding of the subject and mastered complex building-block concepts.

In the Sacramento region, few high schools require seniors to take a math class, leaving less than 13 percent fully prepared for college. Nearly 43 percent of high school seniors will need extensive math remediation in college.

Currently, just 5 percent of Sacramento State students who require remediation during their first year will graduate in four years, contributing to the University’s 9 percent four-year graduation rate.

“Through a collective impact model, and a longstanding partnership with regional high school districts and community colleges, SMRCI will address readiness for college-level mathematics during students’ senior year of high school and before matriculation,” says Joy Salvetti, director of Sac State’s Center for College and Career Readiness and principal investigator for the $1.28 million grant.

“The ultimate goal of the partnership is to decrease or eliminate the need for remediation in mathematics, to remedy the ‘math as gatekeeper’ scenario for students, to streamline our respective assessment and matriculation processes, and to ultimately improve students’ rates to graduation.”

Sac State and the Sacramento City Unified School District are joining forces in SMRCI to address the challenge. Joining them are other Sacramento State partners: the Center for College and Career Readiness, the College of Education’s Math Learning Skills Program, and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics’ Math Project and Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Additional partners from the education community include the San Juan Unified School District, UC Davis’ Mathematics Project, Sacramento County Office of Education, Placer County Office of Education, Sierra College, and the Los Rios Community College District.

The $1.28 million in federal funding comes from the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants Program, Title II-A, No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. – Dixie Reid

In the media:

"Sacramento State hopes to keep freshmen from remedial classes with $1.28M grant," The Sacramento Bee