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

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Adopting a discourse of faith, not deficiency

Jamey Gallagher, affiliated with the Community College of Baltimore County, authored a piece that urges faculty to consider adopting a discourse of faith in students, not on students’ deficiencies.  Gallagher suggests that discourse of faith and discourse of deficiency are, indeed, in conflict with one another, but that turning to holistic pedagogies that embrace students is necessary.  Although community college and developmental students are often considered deficient, reflected in the way “underprepared” is used to describe those in dev ed, innovative approaches to delivering education encourage faculty to move beyond deficiency.  As Gallagher writes of dev ed students:

The students who end up in our developmental education classes may not understand MLA format, but they understand something deeper and richer.  They may not have trained their critical thinking faculties, but they have thought critically.

Certainly, such statements conjure images of students who,  while underprepared,  are not deficient,  but in need of assistance and deserve our faith and support.

Source: Faculty Focus


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