The Postsecondary Workforce Readiness Act (Public Act 99-0674, HB 5729), or PWR Act, was signed into law in July 2016. A major component of the law relates to transitional math courses, which are courses for seniors in high schools. For more information on the four components to the PWR Act, please visit pwract.org.Click here for a one-page summary of the 4 pieces of the PWR Act.
There are 3 pathways (STEM, Quantitative Literacy/Statistics, and Technical Math) that a high school junior who is not projected ready for college math will pick from based on the student’s college plans. That facet is the most important part in that students who are successful with a C or better in the high school course earn guaranteed placement at any Illinois community college in the outcome course(s) of their path.
- The statewide panel and pathway subcommittees met beginning in 2017 to create the process and content competencies as well as the policies guaranteeing their entrance, rigor, and portability.
- The competencies were designed specifically for high school seniors to address math deficiencies through large and interesting contextualized problems aligned with their future courses and careers.
- The QL/Statistics pathway is the default pathway for a student who is undecided on his/her meta-major.
- While implementation will be the responsibility of the state agencies, the law emphasizes that it is the local high schools and community college that co-develop the actual course.
- Four-year institutions are being included in these discussions to encourage acceptance of the placement.
Transitional Math Milestones
Competencies and Policies
Following a public commenting period and feedback from the statewide panel in early 2018, the transitional math competencies and policies were finalized for use in 2018. A few changes to the PWR Act were approved in spring 2018.
In conjunction with ICCB, a portability panel was created in spring 2018. Its duties are to review partnership agreements and curriculum from a community college and its partner high schools. Its membership includes ten high school math teachers, eight community college math faculty, one public university math faculty member, one private university math faculty member, a community college chief academic officer, a CTE dean, and a superintendent. All three educational agencies, ISBE, ICCB, and IBHE, participate in meetings that will occur in the fall and spring. The first meeting to determine protocols and submission requirements was held in October 2018.
A statewide MOU template was created to simplify the process of creating a partnership agreement.
To support the effective rollout of PWR transitional math courses in the 2019-20 school year, course supports such as competency rubrics and scope and sequence charts were created in the summer of 2018. Sample units are under development. These samples will include links to open materials free of charge to schools to support implementation. Funding from ISBE and ICCB has been provided to curate more open materials into the Illinois OER and create additional resources to support all of the competencies and key performance indicators.
A scaling approach has been implemented that supports the eventual full scale of transitional math into all public high schools that do not opt out of transitional math. The approach is based on communication and organization of the work through the community colleges. Summits at community colleges with their partner high schools have occurred at nearly all community colleges in 2018. The remaining summits will be held in 2019. They employ the scaling approach described earlier and allow for discussion of MOUs and the development of timelines for high schools as they plan their pilots.
A monitoring plan was established in 2018 to provide information on the status of scale as well as the depth and success of implementation. Additional personnel have been added to provide outreach to high schools and colleges and manage the scaling process.
A comprehensive communication plan was created to ensure timely information is available to all stakeholders. This includes the creation of an eNewsletter and website in 2018 along with an email listserv for easy dissemination of information to affected parties. Monthly webinars with community college points of contact began in early 2018 and have been extended to any interested party (K-12 or college level) beginning in late 2018.
- By June 30, 2019: ISBE and ICCB will establish an implementation plan and benchmarks that will lead to statewide implementation of transitional math instruction in all participating high schools. Implementation will be contingent upon:
- Availability of public and private resources needed for implementation of statewide panel and administration of statewide portability
- Availability of at least one fully online or blended-learning course
- The right of school boards to opt out of implementation
- A school district can opt out of implementation of transitional math if the school board feels the cost of implementation outweighs the benefits to students and families. This will be reported to ISBE.
- By the 2019-2020 school year: School boards of school districts serving 9-12 grades can implement transitional math instruction preparing students for at least one of the three pathways. If the schoolboard and the associated community college receive a grant, the community college will enter into a partnership agreement with the high school and provide support for implementation using ICCB timelines.
- By June 30, 2020: IBHE will publicly report on the adoption criteria and continue to do so at least every 2 years.
- By June 30, 2022: A report will be issued from ISBE and ICCB that analyzes the results, best practices, and challenges of school districts and community colleges that have implemented transitional math.