The CSM Course

Building High Performance and Lifelong Learning skills for success in education, work and life

High Performance & Lifelong Learning are:

  • Professional math and literacy skills
  • Learning agility
  • Persistence and self-reliance
  • Problem solving strategies and mindsets
  • Attention-to-detail and conscientiousness
  • High Personal Expectations
  • Self-efficacy

Individuals with these skills strive every day to do things right, push through problems and bounce back from failures. High Performance & Lifelong Learning skills lead to success in school, college, work and life.

These universally valuable skills and traits are critical for individual success, but conventional learning often overlooks or inadvertently undermines them.

The CSM Course

The CSM Course is a self-paced online course that takes 15-100 hours to complete, and builds the skills of High Performance & Lifelong Learning.

The CSM Course has the widest range of use of any single course. The same CSM Course is used by:

  • corporate upskilling at a health insurance company
  • school-wide culture transformation in a charter school
  • workforce development bootcamps for high-earning energy industry jobs
  • a college entrepreneurship program for formerly incarcerated individuals
  • adults who dropped out of college to regain momentum and put their college math credit behind them

The reason that CSM can serve such a diverse group of people is that while different people need different academic and job-specific skills, CSM's High Performance & Lifelong Learning skills are of universal value.

What People Say about CSM

"CSM definitely helped with confidence in learning and not being afraid to learn something new/something you could never figure out. I've never been more motivated to learn."

Student, Cuyahoga Community College

"CSM is very different from the other computer-based systems that I have seen - it is not narrowly competency-based, and it addresses the deficits that many struggling students have both in their feelings about learning as well as the learning strategies that they use."

Math coordinator, Denver high school

"[I learned that] I can overcome fear and anxiety, that I'm not a quitter when the going gets tough, that the skills presented and on which we are challenged involve both soft and concrete skills. I learned about math, but I also learned about my own personality. I learned about logic, but I also learned about my own patience (or lack of at times) ... Any time I concluded I was 'smarter' than the problem in front of me, I found that I wasn't. It's not about smarts - it's about utilizing our skills and trusting that we can slug our way through a tough spot."

Roxolana T., M.A., Manager of Compliance Audit, healthcare insurance company

Awesome Skills

CSM is unique not only in how it teaches, but what it teaches. The math, literacy and problem-solving that CSM teaches are chosen for their general usefulness in education, work and life.

The math skills covered in the CSM Course are equivalent to a 3 semester hour college course in quantitative reasoning, and many colleges accept CSM for math or elective credit.


CSM takes a deep view of literacy, including knowing where to find information. In this problem, students must determine what information they would likely be able to find in a report from only the title and how the report is organized.

Logic problems

CSM includes complex logic problems similar to the type that are frequently encountered in technical and financial fields. The challenges include multiple requirements and dealing with missing information (in this case, e.g., there is no information provided on the computer's bus speed).

Mental Math

Mental math is the gateway to all quantitative analysis and estimation-driven decision-making. CSM provides an introduction to mental calculation that is challenging even for most college graduates.


In addition to teaching how to read specific values from graphs, CSM takes a broader view of graphical literacy, including using graphs to answer qualitative questions and look for trends.


Professional communication is vital, and CSM both teaches common grammar and builds the attention-to-detail and carefulness required for detailed proofreading.


Units are critically important to applying math in the real world - nothing is just a "10", it's 10 feet, 10 meters, $10 or 10 cars. CSM teaches students to focus on units as part of all applied operations. CSM also builds an intuitive sense of conversions and metric and English units.

Problem solving

Problem-solving is a key part of CSM: What is the question asking? Where is the information? What information is relevant to solving the problem? What are the steps and their order? This question focuses on planning - students must only determine HOW they will find the salon profits and set up a plan of attack.

Intensely Personalized Instruction

To build High Performance & Lifelong Learning skills, we needed to create new technology that also addresses how a student learns, feels and acts, how they deal with frustrations, how to improve their focus, and how to encourage them to strive for excellence.

Learning math and literacy skills efficiently

CSM guides students on a personalized path through math and literacy skills using the Goldilocks principle - they always work on skills that are not too hard or easy for them at the moment but are "just right", where they have to work hard, persevere through frustration, and can be rewarded with success. CSM identifies specific student thinking errors for efficient, effective learning.

Problem solving

Students focus on problem-solving strategies and mindsets - what the question is asking, where the information is, what information is relevant, and how to break problems into parts and get started.

Independent learning

Students take control of their own learning by making choices among different lessons oriented to different learning styles, and CSM provides feedback on how their learning choices affect their learning success.

Mastering material

Most educational technology is "competency-based", correlating to a passing score of 50-70% right on a multiple-choice test. The only passing score on CSM is 100% correct with mainly fill-in-the-blank problems. This helps students learn the mindsets required, that they are capable of excelling, and how good the joy of mastery feels.

Converting frustration into persistence

CSM measures frustration by analyzing behavioral data, and guides students through converting their frustration into persistence using behavioral interventions and by informing their coach.

Gaining earned self-confidence

The "secret sauce" of success is self-efficacy - the deeply held belief that you can succeed, which is earned by students seeing themselves be successful in challenging learning situations. This is reinforced by informing students of the percentage (often large) of college graduates and all adults who couldn't do the skills they just completed.

Learn More

A general guide for understanding the CSM Course curriculum and pedagogy, and includes example problems for every "Core Skill" in CSM. This is NOT meant, however, for use in evaluating the CSM Course for prior-learning credit (PLC) -- for that, use the CSM Curriculum Guide - Quantitative Reasoning.

This is a shorter white paper focused on CSM's adaptive learning pedagogy and technology.



equitable access

higher graduation rates

address math issues

community engagement

stop-out recovery


Workforce Development

postsecondary access


high school equivalency

career development

employer partnerships



performance upskilling

broaden, diversify pipeline

access to tuition assistance

higher engagement

culture transformation



community uplift

postsecondary access

employer engagement


economic development


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