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

Article questions harms on dev ed students

Are remedial courses actually hurting community college students?

That is the question asked in a Washington Post article by the same name. The article cites research by former Assistant Director, Katherine L. Hughes, and current Senior Research Associate, Judith Scott-Clayton of the Community College Research Center. In the 2011 article, the role of assessments in community colleges were explored—most notably the COMPASS and ACCUPLACER placement exams.  Study findings indicated that while the exams were reasonably valid in predicting students’ performance in developmental math, the same could not be said for reading or writing courses.  The authors suggested that community colleges seek alternative approaches to assessment and placement, which could translate into improvements in student outcomes.  Some colleges in California, Maryland, and Washington have done just that by giving high school juniors the opportunity to prepare early for placement tests.

Source: Washington Post