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Foreword

Paul Arcario, Dean for Academic Affairs

Project Quantum Leap is part of a nationwide effort to solve the challenge of basic skills education in math. A U.S. Department of Education study1 reiterates the importance of math instruction for college success: students who take college-level math as early as possible(no matter their eventual major) are far more likely to attain a degree. At community colleges, however, most entering students are not ready for college-level math. Developmental or basic skills classes account for over half (55%) of math enrollments.2 Many of the students who take these courses never progress; dropout and failure rates in basic skills courses are high, as is student dissatisfaction.3 Clearly, new instructional strategies are needed.

Project Quantum Leap is an innovative effort by the Department of Mathematics, Engineering, and Computer Science of LaGuardia Community College to address the challenges of basic skills education in math. With funding from the U.S Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and assistance from the LaGuardia Center for Teaching and Learning, math faculty have made a sustained, collective effort to explore new approaches to teaching math and re-thinking their classroom pedagogies. Working together in a faculty seminar, they design, plan, test, and discuss new classroom strategies. The PQL faculty are proud to publish the first edition of the PQL Sampler, a representation of, and reflection on, their initial classroom experiments. With this publication, we celebrate the accomplishment of a team of thoughtful, risk-taking teachers and a department dedicated to innovation and creativity.


  1. Adelman, C. (2006). The Toolbox Revisited: Paths to Degree Completion from High School through College. U.S. Department of Education.
  2. Conference Board for the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS). (2002). Statistical Abstract of Undergraduate Programs in the Mathematical Sciences in the United States .
  3. Grubb, N.W., & Cox, R. (2005). Pedagogical Alignment and Curricular Consistency: The Challenges from Developmental Education. Directions in Community Colleges: Responding to the Challenges of Developmental Education, 129, 93–103.

The contents of this website and publication were developed under grant # P116B060124-08 from the U.S. Department of Education. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.