« back to Emerging Practices

Emerging Practices with Promise

Submitted By: Andreea Serban, Coast Adult Education Consortium

College Math Preparation: From Adult Education to Community College

  • Type of Practice: Student Acceleration
  • Targeted Population: Adult Secondary Education Students, High School Equivalency Students
  • Program Area(s): Adult Basic & Secondary Education
  • Consortia Involved:
    Coast Adult Education Consortium: Coast Community College District, Garden Grove Unified School District, Huntington Beach Union High School District, Newport-Mesa Unified School District

The Challenge

An evaluation of current math course sequencing and average timing of when students take math courses identified gaps in math preparation between a student’s graduation from the Adult Education School and a student’s attempt to take a first math course at the Community College. Because of this gap, students perform poorly on the college math placement test and often have to take remedial math courses. This increases the potential for students to drop out of the Community College based on the length of time before they begin the first transferable math class. Research suggests that successful transition programs address both instructional content and overall college readiness.

The Solution

Collaboratively, the Adult School and the Community College prepared a program that addresses students’ challenges in mathematics preparation and factors that lead to college success. In an 8-week program, adult education students participate in a self-paced workshop/course designed to prepare them for college-level mathematics. Framed within a pre-test/post-test paradigm, in which the standardized mathematics placement test is used to determine level of instruction, the students engage in a self-paced online program complementary to face-to-face instruction and a peer-student trained in supplemental instruction mathematics methodologies. Following content instruction, students participate in college success workshops.


The program is being piloted in spring 2016 as a collaboration between Golden West College and Huntington Beach Adult School. Golden West College has made significant gains in developing high school short term math preparation courses that customize and target remedial instruction for students in a way that avoids having them work on math concepts they already have a mastery of. This program focuses only on those concepts each student has not mastered. It is our consortium’s plan to tailor these courses for adult learners and provide them at a time just prior to their graduation from the Adult Education School, which can be at any time of the year, and prepare them for the highest possible success on the college math placement test.

The Data

Data for the evaluation of the pilot is collected in spring 2016. The program was created based on data obtained from a similar program designed for and implemented with local high school students who intended to enroll in a community college or university. In such a program, 74% of the participants advanced at least one level on the mathematics placement test following the 8-week mathematics instruction program. 88% of the participants indicated that they were “very satisfied” with the workshop that addressed skills necessary for college success. Therefore, the program implemented with adult education students is based on the success of a proven program offered in a similar partnership.

2 people found this practice story helpful.

Did you find this helpful?