Partnering for OER and Improving Math Skills

Partnering for OER and Improving Math Skills

Math technology curriculum and services provider Carnegie Learning (Pittsburgh) in November partnered with open educational resources provider OpenStax (Houston) to provide a single, affordable learning solution for developmental math.

The partnership will combine Carnegie Learning’s Mika, adaptive math courseware for higher education, with OpenStax textbooks.

The partnership is an example of several forces at work in the higher education space—a growing acceptance by commercial publishers of OER, the use of partnerships to expand those OER offerings, targeting math as a problem area in need of better solutions, the use of adaptive learning in the higher education space, and strong movements to expand footprints and gain market share by smaller companies in a space historically dominated by large traditional publishers.

Carnegie Learning, OpenStax Partnership to Address Lagging Mathematics Performance

At its core, the partnership exemplifies the drive Carnegie Learning is making in the education market after becoming independent in 2016 from its five-year tenure under ownership by Apollo Education Group (Phoenix), which at the time owned the University of Phoenix, where Apollo planned to use the adaptive program for remedial math.

As Carnegie Learning regains its independent footing, it is looking to address the lagging mathematics performance of U.S. students in both the K-12 and higher education markets. In March, the company launched a Long+Live+Math rally cry intended to help build a new brand identity and accompanied by product enhancements, specifically to its Transformer services for data analysis and professional development.

The partnership also exemplifies a similar drive forward by OpenStax, which almost single-handedly is driving the acceptance of open educational resources at the college level. And it is recognition of the role OER is assuming as more and more commercial providers accommodate OER into their offerings. For instance, Cengage (Boston) in October launched OpenNow, a suite of digital products with OER content for the college market. OpenNow includes content from OpenStax and other sources, as well as new content created by Cengage and content previously under a Cengage copyright.

And, finally, the partnership of Carnegie Learning and OpenStax also reflects the ongoing need to conquer the challenge of helping students achieve success in math.

"We're here to change the status quo in math education," said Barry Malkin, CEO of Carnegie Learning. "This partnership offers the best of two worlds for a fraction of the cost. Every year, roughly $7 billion is spent on remedial education in the U.S., but the average success rate for remedial math courses is only 33%. We have to do better for our students at a price point they can afford."

Along that line, student services platform provider Chegg (Santa Clara, CA) in October acquired the 4-year-old Cogeon GmbH (Berlin, Germany), a provider of adaptive math technology and developer of the math app, Math 42 in a $15 million cash transaction. The acquisition helps Chegg provide self-guided and individualized math solutions through Cogeon’s A.I.-driven  technology and to push further into the high school market. The idea is to get students the help they need before they end up in remedial programs in college. Chegg expects to launch an integrated new product using the Cogeon technology in the second half of 2018.

And in another recent example, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (Princeton, NJ) in October said it is turning over its college remedial math program, Carnegie Math Pathways, to education non-profit WestEd (San Francisco). Passing the baton, the foundation hopes to expand the reach of the program, which served more than 10,000 students in 2016. In 2017, more than 70 institutions in 17 states are offering the Statway and/or Quantway alternative math sequences that make up the Math pathways program.