New philosophies for developmental education

To approach developmental education, community colleges in the Philadelphia area are trying on new philosophies. Some institutions are phasing out developmental education, while others are using a co-requisite rather than a prerequisite approach. In other words, students who place just below the college-level are placed into the college courses, but with additional support. Another dimension is thinking about how students are evaluated in the first place, which includes a shift from more traditional testing considered by some to be an outdated approach.

Often believed to be a mostly community college issue, plenty of universities must also work with underprepared students and deliver developmental education. Temple University, for example, has anywhere from 5-6% of students in developmental mathematics and up to 20% in developmental English (including ESL students). Temple is also incorporating a co-requisite model in dev ed and making adjustments to how students are evaluated.



The cost of remediation

Education Reform Now recently issued a report that estimates the out of pocket cost of remedial education for recent high school graduates and their families. The report estimates that remedial coursework during the first year of college costs upwards of $1.5 billion per year. Other findings included in the report were that underprepared college students come from families of all income levels. Even those from higher incomes spend, on average, $12,000 more for college. While much of the money is spent learning what should have been learned in high school, the overall issue of remediation is a two-way street. Just as high schools need to be more academically rigorous, colleges must also make adjustments to address the needs of developmental education students.

Source:  InsideHigherEd


Successful rates from Tennessee

Last Fall, Tennessee expanded its use of a co-requisite approach to math, writing, and reading at all of its 13 public community colleges. The Board of Regents’ latest study indicates that the approach was successful, overall, in facilitating students’ completing credit-bearing courses compared to traditional developmental education approaches four years ago. College-level course passing rates also increased for minority, adult, and low-income students. Despite the promising results, Tennessee still has much to learn about the differences in course delivery among the community colleges. Another recent research study seems to support some of the efficiency seen in Tennessee. The Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College’s report indicated that using a co-requisite model is more cost effective than traditional remediation, and also improved student engagement.

Source:  InsideHigherEd

Progress in Florida

Although the State of Florida has seen dismal results following a state-mandated change making developmental education optional, some of the state’s two-year colleges have turned to creativity. One of these colleges, St. Petersburg College, created its own measurement tool to be used when determining whether students need remediation. Yet another, Indian River State College, has put new measures in place to increase students’ success in remediation, with positive results. One of the college’s approaches was offering three sections of developmental math that use a modular approach; this strategy has also seen a nearly 91% success rate.

Sources:  Education Dive, InsideHigherEd

New report calls developmental education a “bridge to nowhere”

Back in 2012, Complete College America issued a report that called remedial, or developmental, education a bridge to nowhere. Now, four years later, a report by New America echoes this statement while also suggesting that co-requisite models may offer improved results. Evidence to support this assertion comes from data gathered at institutions in Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee, and West Virginia that have used the co-requisite approach as well as other models, including the emporium model, boot camps, and fast-track courses. The report also advises that such approaches must be brought to scale and that states/institutions must be given reasonable timelines, resources, and support from state policy leaders.

Sources:  Diverse Education, New America

Fixing dev ed

The Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) released a report that explores the experiences of underprepared students. Center director Evelyn Waiwaiole writes, “Developmental education is broken—and it is worth fixing,” a noteworthy call for finding ways to improve students’ college readiness. The report findings were based on survey data gathered from more than 70,000 community college students and 4,500 faculty members. Findings suggest that, despite 86% of students believing themselves to be college-ready, about 67% of them test into developmental education and even 40% of students with A- grade point averages in high school placed into developmental courses. The report also appears to back co-requisite models, a suggestion consistent with other recent reports. While this remediation approach has been found to improve students’ completion of college-level coursework, Hunter Boylan cautions that most institutions lack the necessary resources to bring such co-requisite pilots to a larger scale. Boylan suggests that colleges would require significant restructuring and reorganizing as well as cultural change in order to implement such reforms.

The complete list of eight approaches for improving developmental education include redesigning mathematics, trying acceleration or paired developmental courses, using more than one measure for assessing college readiness, and partnering with high schools to offer bridge programs.

Sources:  Campus Technology, InsideHigherEd

Acceleration and student-centered approaches to dev ed

Though many of the current topics in developmental education redesign center on co-requisite models, other options are available. A recent Inside Higher Ed essay discusses accelerated approaches to developmental coursework, such as the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs at City University of New York, the Accelerated Learning Program in Baltimore County, and New Mathways. Yet another example of accelerated developmental education comes from Washington’s Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) program. Authors Garcia and Ralls remind that the way to increase the number of Americans with degrees is to “retain and advance our current students.” The key to accomplishing this, they suggest, is to create a new developmental education system—one that is student-centered, robust, and multidimensional.

Source:  InsideHigherEd

New reports detail strategies used in developmental education in Tennessee and Connecticut

The American Council on Education’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy recently released two reports examining innovative strategies in higher education in Tennessee and Connecticut.  In Tennessee, Developmental Studies Redesign and Course Revitalization Redesign were pursued between 2005-2010 and 2010-2015, respectively.  In order to accomplish each, system-level changes were implemented to redesign developmental education and gateway courses across the state.  State legislation, specifically the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010, also played a role.  Redesign efforts led the Tennessee Board of Regents to implement a co-requisite model that would bring together developmental and college-level.

When the State of Connecticut passed Public Act 12-40, educational institutions would have to revise existing assessment and placement practices for developmental education.  Additionally, institutions would be limited to one semester for developmental coursework and had to implement a three-level model that provided students with integrated support for college-level courses, intensive developmental courses in one semester, and tuition-free transitional programs that were non-credit.  The ACE report includes data gathered through interviews with several constituent groups at the state legislative and higher education levels, and findings serve as recommendations for improving communication between the legislature and higher education community and more.

Sources: InsideHigherEd, ACE on Tennessee, ACE on Connecticut

Amarillo College awarded Title V grant

The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded a Title V grant to Amarillo College for redesigns related to developmental education and academic support services.  The grant, funded in the amount of $2.6 million, will enable the college to redesign and link developmental curricula to workforce pursuits, centralize an advising center, and implement a test-preparation program to promote student success.  Although the grant award is part of the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program, it is anticipated that the redesigns made possible by the funding will benefit all students considered high-need.

Source:  MyHighPlains

Community colleges receive awards from Achieving the Dream

Designations for making positive impacts on student success and achievement have been awarded by Achieving the Dream.  This year, 19 community colleges have earned such designation, including Grand Rapids Community College.  Five years ago, less than 28% of students completed developmental English requirements after two years.  After implementing FastTrack—an accelerated dev ed program enabling students to progress to college-level coursework faster—more than 45% of students are now ready for college English; almost 79% of students who enter FastTrack complete the program.

The remaining 18 community colleges are:

Source:  The Collegiate Live