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The Effects of Remedial Course Offerings on Student Outcomes at a 2-Year College. Viktor Brenner, Ph.D. Waukesha County Technical College. Remedial Education at WCTC 1995-2006: Program Readiness. Individual programs set ASSET and later COMPASS cutoff scores for program-readiness

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the effects of remedial course offerings on student outcomes at a 2 year college

The Effects of Remedial Course Offerings on Student Outcomes at a 2-Year College.

Viktor Brenner, Ph.D.

Waukesha County Technical College

remedial education at wctc 1995 2006 program readiness
Remedial Education at WCTC1995-2006: Program Readiness
  • Individual programs set ASSET and later COMPASS cutoff scores for program-readiness
  • Students entering a program below program ready levels were placed on “In Remediation” status
    • Allowed to take up to 12 credits towards their program while
  • Remedial instruction offered as individual or small group self-paced instruction
problems with program readiness
Problems with Program Readiness
  • Used ASSET/COMPASS in a way that is not validated
    • Test predicts success in first-semester college courses
    • ASSET/COMPASS scores did NOT predict program outcomes
  • Program readiness tied to programs not courses
    • Magnified heterogeneity of student skill levels in classrooms
  • Exceptions and extensions to the 12-credit rule common
  • Remedial offerings require a lot of self-direction
prepared learner initiative
Prepared Learner Initiative
  • Wisconsin Technical College System
    • Uniform “General College” remedial courses as pre-requisites for General Education
  • WCTC implemented remedial courses in waves
    • Writing, Spring 2008
    • Reading, Fall 2008
    • Multiple-baseline evaluation of remedial offerings
four pronged evaluation of general college remedial courses
Four-Pronged Evaluation of “General College” Remedial Courses
  • Are students more successful with remedial courses?
  • Does student success improve in “target” courses with General College pre-requisites?
  • Are students in remedial courses retained?
    • Do students in remedial courses enroll directly in courses that have pre-requisites?
  • Does having to take a remedial course inhibit students from enrolling?
a success story
A Success Story

Intro to College Writing and Written Communication

student outcomes in remedial course
Student Outcomes in Remedial Course

Writing Readiness grades were either S, NG or WD

Intro College Writing is graded using full grading scale

direct enrollment of remedial students into written communication
Direct Enrollment of Remedial Students into Written Communication

Fall-Spring

Spring-Fall

overview
Overview
  • Students are more successful in the General College remedial writing course
  • Student success in Written Communication returned from a drop-off to Fall 2006 levels
  • Students more likely to be retained the following term
  • More than twice as many students enrolled directly in Written Communication the following term
    • Fewer unprepared students enrolled
a less successful story
A Less Successful Story

Intro College Reading & Study Skills for Science, Social Science and Communication

remedial reading outcomes
Remedial Reading Outcomes
  • Students are less successful in Intro College Reading & Study Skills than they were before
  • No noticeable effect on General Education courses
  • Student retention is essentially the same, but more likely to enroll directly in Gen Eds
    • Includes almost half of students that failed
  • Students (N=65) improved significantly on COMPASS re-test at the end of the course
    • Average pretest of 69.5, average post-test of 80.9
what s going on with reading
What’s Going On With Reading?
  • Students improved in reading without being successful in the course
    • Top performers were above cutoff from the start
    • Average post-test above cutoff for every grade
  • Hypothesis: domain of course broader than test
    • New curriculum this Spring
    • Looking to replace with reading-only course
enrollment yield
Enrollment Yield

Does having a remedial requirement reduce the likelihood of student enrollment?

lost before they start
Lost Before They Start?
  • Inside Higher Ed (Jaschik 2009) report on Bailey et al (2008)
    • Of students 3 or more levels below college-ready, 40% don’t enroll in the first remedial course
    • Only 3-4 in 10 students complete a remedial course sequence
  • What are the baselines?
    • Do remedial requirements make students less likely to start?
    • If so, why?
  • Enrollment Yield: percent of students tested that enrolled in program-level courses the next semester
    • Next semester: Feb1-Aug31 = Fall, Sept1-Jan31 = Spring
probability of enrolling and compass reading score
Probability of Enrolling and COMPASS-Reading Score
      • Regression Discontinuity
    • Calcagno (2008, 2009)
    • Students scoring 75-81 5% more likely to enroll than students scoring 68-74
  • Big picture: is it different above and below 75?
what is really going on
What is Really Going On?

Which is a better fit?

Linear: progressively less likely to enroll

Barrier: each additional requirement reduces yield

enrollment yield and compass writing
Enrollment Yield and COMPASS-Writing

Distribution of Scores

Enrollment Yield by Grouped Scores

can someone explain this
Can Someone Explain This?

Students with “common” scores more likely to enroll than students with “uncommon” scores!

linear or barrier model
Linear or Barrier Model?

Do remedial requirements deter enrollment, or are students that need remediation also less likely to enroll?

summary
Summary
  • Prepared Learner Initiative
    • Students in the new remedial courses were more likely to be retained and enroll directly in target courses
    • Success in the remedial course itself differed by subject
    • No observable difference in target course performance
  • Enrollment Yield
    • Seems to fit linear pattern
    • Introduction of hard pre-requisites has not led to a decline in enrollment yield
      • Interpretation: students are not less likely to enroll if they are required to take remedial courses; students with lesser basic skills are progressively less likely to enroll
  • Next step: understand the frequent/infrequent score yield disparity in COMPASS-Writing
references
References
  • Bailey, Thomas; Jeong, Dong Wook; & Cho, Sung-Woo (2008). Referral, Enrollment and Completion in Developmental Education Sequences in Community Colleges. Community College Research Center Working Paper #15, available from CCRC at ccrc.tc.columbia.edu
  • Calcagno, Juan Carlos & Long, Bridget Terry (April 2008). “The Impact of Postsecondary Remediation Using a Regression Discontinuity Approach: Addressing Endogenous Sorting and Noncompliance. National Center for Postsecondary Research Working Paper, available online from NCPR at www.postsecondaryresearch.org
  • Calcagno, Juan Carlos & Long, Bridget Terry (August 2009). “Evaluating the Impact of Remedial Education in Florida Community Colleges: A Quasi-Experimental Regression Discontinuity Design.” National Center for Postsecondary Research Brief, available online from NCPR at www.postsecondaryresearch.org
  • Jaschik, Scott (January 19, 2009). “Lost Before They Start.” Inside Higher Ed, available online at www.insidehighered.com /news /2009/01/19/remedial
  • Mohn, Lavonne. Personal communication, April 19-April 21, 2010.
contacts
Contacts
  • Email author: vbrenner@wctc.edu
  • Copies of this presentation:
    • College Advancement IR Reports: www.wctc.edu/ca >Research Reports
    • Under session information on the Forum Scheduler; link from http://www.airweb.org/?page=1967