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

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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

Alternative models emerge in dev ed redesigns

As concerns over high referral rates, low completion rates, and the high costs associated with dev ed come to the forefront, redesign models have emerged.

At the Community College of Baltimore County, a co-requisite model called the Accelerated Learning Program is used.  Students who place into upper-level dev writing can enroll in a co-requisite composition course.  A similar model, through the California Acceleration Project, has shortened the dev ed course sequence in the state’s community colleges.

Other models include the integration of reading and writing courses to teach these critical skills that often go hand-in-hand, and the New Mathways Project in Texas community colleges that offers students multiple pathways through dev math through acceleration and revised curricula.  The project was also profiled in greater depth by the National Journal.

Source: Education DIVE