Early Start used at California universities to prepare incoming freshmen

A recent article featured on EdSource discusses the Early Start program at California State University. The program, now in its second year, is required for students who are considered underprepared for college-level math and English coursework.  Students participate in the program during the summer before starting their first semester, allowing students to focus on degree- or certificate-specific coursework once they begin college.  The program has been implemented across CSU’s 23 campuses where it is estimated that nearly half of incoming freshman require developmental education.

Source: EdSource


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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


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