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.
Nearly 85% of students entering New Jersey’s Essex County College required dev ed, placing into the lowest level of math. In efforts to reverse this figure, the institution incorporated the emporium model, or adaptive learning—an approach incorporating technology to deliver course material. At Essex, $1.2m from the Gates Foundation was used to develop two math labs where ALEKS, McGraw-Hill‘s adaptive math learning system, would be used. The new approach also incorporated learning communities wherein students met twice a week to discuss useful learning strategies. Despite the money and effort expended on this adaptive learning, preliminary results have not been promising. So far, about 1,000 students have taken adaptive math courses with only 35% of students passing compared to 50% in traditional developmental math. Despite the disappointing results, the college intends to stay the course to study what changes can and should be made.
Source: Inside Higher Ed