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Basic Skills in the Big Picture Matthew Rosin Senior Research Associate, EdSource Rethinking developmental education in California and beyond Student Success Institute Basic Skills Across the Curriculum February 26, 2011. Rethinking developmental education.

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Basic Skills in the Big Picture

Matthew Rosin

Senior Research Associate, EdSource

Rethinking developmental education

in California and beyond

Student Success Institute

Basic Skills Across the Curriculum

February 26, 2011


Rethinking developmental education
Rethinking developmental education

Developmental education is key to meeting completion goals, to ensuring students meet AA/AS standards, and for meeting course prerequisites.

That developmental education must be revamped is taken as a given in the national conversation.

The conversation is not about whether, but how.

No silver bullets. Every promising program is a structured response to a recognized problem.

These responses—and their evaluations—can be documented and shared.


What follows
What follows

Examples focused on three big ideas:

Contextualization.

Alternative approaches to the developmental sequence.

Explicit and pervasive student support.


Contextualization
Contextualization

Key premise:

Developmental learning should be connected with its application and relevance in meaningful academic or occupational contexts.

Developmental learning need not necessarily be thought of as discrete skills to be remediated “before” accessing the practices of a field.


Contextualization1
Contextualization

Examples:

Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST), Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

Integrates adult literacy and college-level career-technical learning.

Intended to get more Adult Basic Education/ESL students past a “tipping point” associated with higher earnings—i.e., taking 1 year’s worth of college-credit courses and completing a credential.

CCRC evaluation finds I-BEST students more likely to pursue credit-bearing coursework and earn awards.

Program may be less suited to ESL students with the least English proficiency.


Contextualization2
Contextualization

Examples:

Career Advancement Academies, Career Ladders Project

Focused on undereducated/underemployed youth and adults.

Learning communities provide noncredit developmental instruction through career pathways connected to various economic sectors.

Partnerships in East Bay, Central Valley, and Los Angeles between CC districts, multiple colleges, adult schools, and other agencies.

Academy of College Excellence (ACE), Cabrillo College

Focused on at-risk students.

Within learning communities, teams conduct and present primary-research projects as they would in college-level courses, such as on social justice topics of interest to them.

Research projects are contexts for literacy and mathematics instruction.


Rethinking the sequence
Rethinking the sequence

Key premise:

A shorter path to transfer-level courses reduces the opportunity for student attrition.

How this relates to the EdSource study findings:

Students’ chances of completing a degree or transfer decrease as their “starting level” moves lower.

This was the case even though students who started at lower levels appear to have made efforts to get through the sequence.


Rethinking the sequence1
Rethinking the sequence

Acceleration

The idea:

Compress the number of levels required to get to transfer-level, at least for some students.

Intensify the experience so that students practice, with support, the tasks expected in transfer-level courses.


Rethinking the sequence2
Rethinking the sequence

Acceleration

Examples:

Accelerated Learning Project, Community College of Baltimore County (Maryland)

Students assessing “1 level below” in English can enroll directly in College Composition with college-ready students, with an additional support section with same instructor and peers.

Developmental English sequence, Chabot College

1- or 2-level sequence. Book-length works spur discussion and writing.

Although both paths provide similar preparation, students on the 1-level path are twice as likely to enroll in English 1A.


Rethinking the sequence3
Rethinking the sequence

Acceleration

Examples:

Academy of College Excellence (ACE), Cabrillo College

CCRC evaluation found that an early version of program with immediate entry into degree-applicable English (1 level below transfer) produced the best student outcomes.

Students’ primary-research projects, with other supports, help students learn to see themselves as academic actors.


Rethinking the sequence4
Rethinking the sequence

Modularization

The idea:

Semester-length courses need not be the default unit of remediation.

Students often do not arrive with academic needs that fit into pre-defined “levels.”

Don’t spend time on things students already know, and let them master what they don’t know at their own pace.


Rethinking the sequence5
Rethinking the sequence

Modularization

Example:

Modular developmental math, Jackson State Community College (Tennessee Developmental Studies Redesign)

Suite of 12 modules (ranging from integers to quadratics) undertaken in a lab context, rather than 3 course levels.

The modules required depend on students’ preparation and the programs of study they intend to pursue.

A full Intermediate Algebra course is no longer the single exit route.


Explicit pervasive student support
Explicit, pervasive student support

Key premise:

Integrating support services with developmental instruction can keep students engaged and moving forward, and ensure they receive needed assistance.

How this relates to the EdSource study findings:

Starting remediation in the first year, passing the first remedial course, and enrolling in a second course without much delay were all important for student completion.


Rethinking the sequence6
Rethinking the sequence

Modularization

Example:

Modular developmental math, Jackson State Community College (Tennessee Developmental Studies Redesign)

Suite of 12 modules (ranging from integers to quadratics) undertaken in a lab context, rather than 3 course levels.

The modules required depend on students’ preparation and the programs of study they intend to pursue.

A full Intermediate Algebra course is no longer the single exit route.


Explicit pervasive student support1
Explicit, pervasive student support

Examples:

MDRC’s Student Support Partnership Integrating Resources and Education (SSPIRE). Report describes program potential and the challenges of “scaling up.”

Learning communities linking academic courses with support—American River College, College of Alameda, De Anza College, Mt. San Antonio College, Santa Ana College

Case management—Taft College, Victor Valley College

Study center—Merced College

Math summer bridge program with counseling—Pasadena City College

Student Success Centers, Chaffey College—Academic support at scale, including faculty support.


Faculty are key
Faculty are key

Familiarity with the options, such as those documented in the Poppy Copy and related reviews, is only a first step.

Next is understanding the local context and judging what practices—in what form, and for whom—might provide a meaningful, structured response to local challenges.

And then?

Pilot. Evaluate. Retool. Evaluate some more…


Faculty are key1
Faculty are key

Continuous evaluation is an opportunity:

For faculty growth and learning, on behalf of wider student success.

To strengthen the connection between faculty and institutional researchers on campus.


For the full research study go to www edsource org iss research communitycollege html
For the full research study go to:www.edsource.org/iss_research_communitycollege.html

520 San Antonio Road, Suite 200, Mountain View, CA 94040 • 650-917-9481

Matthew Rosin, Ph.D. — [email protected]


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