Community College of Denver Revamps Math Pathways

New math enrollment options match students’ needs with their educational goals.
  • Math teacher at the white board pointing to math equations

Community College of Denver (CCD) has revamped its math enrollment options to match students’ needs with their educational goals.

In recent years, many U.S. students who have performed poorly on math placement tests have been placed into developmental math classes; this adds time and cost to a student’s progress in college. The longer a student is enrolled, the less likely s/he is to complete a degree or certificate. CCD’s pathways math approach is one way to boost student success.

Math is an important skill in work and life, yet many students avoid it, which can slow or stop progress toward a degree or certificate. Starting in fall 2016, CCD students can enroll in the college-level math course that best fits their educational pathway. Co-requisite support classes will also be available to help students be successful.

Educational research indicates that students perform as well if not better in a college-level course paired with a support course than they perform in developmental courses. Students who experience successful completion of required courses early in their college experience are more likely to stay in college. 

Nationally, college algebra is the number one course that keeps students from earning a bachelor’s degree. However, not every student needs college algebra. Some students need statistics; others need math for liberal arts. One goal in adopting math pathways is to remove the math barrier that many students experience. This will accelerate students’ ability to complete their associate’s degree and either transfer to a four-year institution, or enter the workforce. 

Last fall, for the first time, CCD offered paired support classes; the students who took the support classes completed at the same success rate as students with higher placement scores. That is a ten percent improvement over the success rates of the general course population.


Students will take the right math class to match their individual goals. There are three major pathways:

  1. Liberal Arts & Humanities degrees: Math for Liberal Arts (MAT 120)
  2. Science, Technology, Engineering, Math degrees: College Algebra (MAT 121)
  3. Behavioral/Social Sciences degrees: Statistical Math (MAT 135)

Students will automatically be registered into a co-requisite support class unless they provide evidence of college readiness. Students are encouraged to meet with their Academic Advisor to learn more about this process.

Developmental Math

CCD will still offer developmental MAT 050 and 055 for students who choose to polish their skills before taking a college-level math. 

“There is a national push away from developmental math and this new approach removes that barrier that keeps many students from achieving their educational pursuits,” said Dr. Everette Freeman, President of CCD. “It is CCD’s goal to create opportunities for our students by creating a clear pathway to student success and help them either complete a degree or certificate and start working right way, or transfer on and continue towards their bachelor’s degree.”

CCD’s Center for Math and Science offers a variety of associate degree and certificate programs. Students can also earn general education math and science requirements that will apply toward a four-year degree. Colorado provides guaranteed transfer of credits to other state institutions.


With nearly 8,000 students, the Community College of Denver is located on the vibrant Auraria Campus in downtown Denver. As a leading point of entry to higher education for the city and county of Denver, CCD offers small-class sizes and flexible schedules, career and academic programs, award-winning professors, extensive advisory and support services, world-class facilities, easy access via RTD light rail, and affordable tuition. CCD is a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution and is one of 13 community colleges in the Colorado Community College System (CCCS). Learn more at www.CCD.edu.