The purpose of the TCMS course is to provide an alternative quantitative reasoning option for high school seniors. Traditionally, the only choices for such students were Calculus or Statistics, usually at the AP level, and many students felt unprepared for that level of mathematical intensity. As a result, students often chose to avoid math in their senior year creating significant barriers to their success as college freshmen - such students are much more likely to be required to take developmental mathematics and less likely to persist to the sophomore year. The TCMS course prepares students for college level math in an engaging and socially relevant curriculum.
The TCMS curriculum design has three main components, with an overall goal to improve students' quantitative reasoning:
- a commercially available textbook that incorporates selective college-level mathematics used for guided practice,
- collaborative group projects designed to strengthen team-building and problem-solving skills, and
- individualized intervention designed to fill gaps in 9 - 11th grade math knowledge using adaptive software (ALEKS)
The content of the TCMS curriculum is rigorous and challenging; it combines statistics and college algebra into three main units over two semesters. In fact the material in the textbook is so ambitious that the CSUN team has had to develop significant original curricular materials to support teachers and students. The content chosen for TCMS was a collaboration project between CSUN's Developmental Math Program and LAUSD teachers in order to ensure the course was designed to meet students' needs and match university expectations. The lessons for each unit continue to be reflected upon, revised, and modified each year, based on of feedback from the LAUSD teachers.
TCMS teachers are also supported throughout the year in a variety of ways: training workshops, online chat and video meetings, and on-site classroom visitations. The backbone of the support is four district-wide, full-day teacher-training workshops in July, September, February and April. In these trainings, we reflect on previous units and prepare for future units, collaboratively. The workshops support and build teachers' mathematical knowledge with fun and challenging mathematical tasks. Additionally, trainings build teachers' knowledge about brain science and students' socio-emotional development. We take a very holistic view of preparing students for all of college using the context of quantitative reasoning. The workshops are filmed and posted on Schoology (an online learning management system) so that teachers unable to attend can still view them at a later date.
In addition to the workshops, CSUN faculty help on demand via Zoom so that teachers can share resources, ask questions about pacing, planning, or content, and "connect" with one another. Resources and a summary of these meetings are also posted on Schoology. For teachers that have immediate questions or concerns, Schoology also provides a way to communicate through online chat, where teachers, LAUSD administration and CSUN faculty can support each other.
In order to both support faculty and ensure fidelity to the program, CSUN faculty and LAUSD administration visit TCMS classrooms, and evaluate the performance using a rubric developed by CSUN and LAUSD. Videos of these classroom visits are also made available on Schoology and are used as a way to share pedagogy with other teachers.
By supporting students and teachers, the TCMS project provides a clear pathway to success for both groups.