Transition to College Mathematics and Statistics

In September 2010, funding was received from the National Science Foundation to develop, field test, refine, and bring to publication a new course, Transition to College Mathematics and Statistics (TCMS). This problem-based, inquiry-oriented, fourth-year high school mathematics course is intended for students who do not plan to major in the mathematical, physical, or biological sciences or engineering.

The development of TCMS involved a collaborative effort among the author team, an international advisory board, and content and evaluation specialists.


The TCMS course is designed for the large number of students planning to major in college programs that do not require calculus. For these students, many school districts have little to offer as a transition to college mathematics and statistics, other than a precalculus course. Many of these students opt out of mathematics their senior year. But data show that students who are not enrolled in a mathematics course their senior year are much more likely to be placed in a remedial (non-credit bearing) course upon admission to college. In some schools, students may elect to take a statistics or discrete mathematics course—courses that frequently do not provide the mathematical content to be successful on current college placement tests.

Scope and Sequence of TCMS

The TCMS course consists of the eight units:

  • Unit 1   Interpreting Categorical Data
  • Unit 2   Functions Modeling Change
  • Unit 3   Counting Methods
  • Unit 4   Mathematics of Financial Decision-Making
  • Unit 5   Binomial Distributions and Statistical Inference
  • Unit 6   Informatics
  • Unit 7   Spatial Visualization and Representations
  • Unit 8   Mathematics of Democratic Decision-Making
Broader Impact

The Transition to College Mathematics and Statistics course provides an effective way of addressing the needs of schools in increasing numbers of states requiring four years of high school mathematics, including a course beyond algebra II or its equivalent. It will also provide an effective way of helping schools meet the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), particularly the Mathematical Practices standards.

For states or school districts that do not have a four-year mathematics requirement, it is anticipated that the TCMS course content, with its realistic problems and projects and relevant applications and appropriate use of technology tools, will stimulate more college-intending students to elect a fourth year of mathematics.

The TMCS course is designed as a capstone course for both conventional and integrated high school mathematics programs. Students who complete three high school mathematics courses designed to meet the CCSS together with the proposed TCMS course will be well-prepared for two-year or four-year college programs that do not require calculus and also for training programs leading to career-level jobs.


A companion suite of mathematical and statistical software tools, called TCMS-Tools, is freely available for Transition to College Mathematics and Statistics.

Further Information

For further information about the Transition to College Mathematics and Statistics program and implementation support, contact


Transition to College Mathematics and Statistics is published by McGraw-Hill Education in both print and digital formats. Contact your local McGraw-Hill representative for further details.

This material is based upon work supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation under grant no. DRL-1020312. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation.

Copyright 2016 Transition to College Mathematics and Statistics