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College Skills. Duncan Graham & Lucy Rodriguez November 5, 2008. Welcome!. Basic Skills ~ College Skills Definition:

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college skills

College Skills

Duncan Graham & Lucy Rodriguez

November 5, 2008

  • Basic Skills ~ College Skills Definition:

“Basic skills are those foundation skills in reading, writing, mathematics, & English as a Second Language, as well as learning skills & study skills, which are necessary for students to succeed in college-level work.” Source: Basic Skills as a Foundation for Student Success in California Community Colleges Report. March 2007. p.4.

why focus on college skills
Why Focus on College Skills?
  • The need today is greater because:
    • Increased volume of students accessing higher education
    • Increased diversity of academic & social backgrounds
    • Culmination of 2 centuries of opening access to higher education to the less than academically qualified
    • 80% of future jobs need a degree
state of college skills
State of College Skills
  • Our Students
    • K-12 educated students
    • Returning adults (English & ELL)
    • Immigrants (none or minimal K-12 education)
    • International students
why focus on college skills1
Why Focus on College Skills?
  • Educational skills are necessary to achieve success in present-day society
  • Skills deficits damage CA economy
  • Lack of literacy wastes human potential
    • Adapted from Payne, G. (2006, June). Re-counting ‘illiteracy’: literacy skills in the sociology of social inequality. British Journal of Sociology, 57(2), 219-240.

Functional Literacy (Reading Street Signs / Balancing a Checkbook)

Losing high paying jobs to the global economy

administrative policy issues
Administrative Policy Issues
  • No Common Definitions of College Skills courses and student services
    • Masking basic skills under college funding umbrella
    • Insufficient & fragmented funding structure
  • High School Curriculum not Aligned with Colleges
  • Inconsistent Community College Standards & Definitions
economic policies
Economic Policies
  • Access to college is “required by our present-day technological society.” -Markus & Zeitlin, 1998
  • In the next 25 years -McCabe, 2001; ETS, 2007, Adelman, 2004
    • 80% of jobs will required post-secondary education
    • 30% of California high school grads are prepared for college
    • Large numbers of workers will retire & need to be replaced by people with post-secondary education
economic policies1


Economic Policies

$44 Million

  • Taxpayers paid about $1 billion on national basic skills education - Breneman & Harlow, 1998
  • Less than 1% of the entire U.S. higher education budget is spent on basic skills - Brothen, 2004
  • For every $1 billion spent = ROI of $44 million from tax revenue - Saxon & Boyle, 2001
  • 70% in California need basic skills remediation - Adelman, 2004.
  • In 2008-09, CA designated BSI funding from the state representing less than a tenth of 1% for Foothill’s budget.
ca s solution to education gap
CA’s Solution to Education Gap
  • The CA Basic Skills Initiative
    • Provides additional funding source
    • Provides common framework for understanding basic skills
basic skills initiative phase i
Basic Skills Initiative Phase I
  • Developed & Produced the Poppy Copy
    • Extensive literature review
    • Self assessment tool
    • Cost-revenue tool
basic skills initiative phases ii iii
Basic Skills Initiative Phases II & III
  • Phase II: Provide training seminars to all 109 colleges on the Literature Review & how to complete their self-assessment evaluation & selection of implementation strategies for local program improvement of basic skills
  • Phase III: Provide regional training seminars on in-depth topics such as integrating student services with academics
college skills at foothill
College Skills at Foothill
  • Over 35 Foothill staff & faculty members joined one of four investigative teams:
    • Team A: Organizational and Administrative Practices
    • Team B: Program Components
    • Team C: Staff Development
    • Team D: Instructional Practices
college skills at foothill1
College Skills at Foothill
  • Campus-wide dialogue was generated by the 4 investigative teams through:
    • Interviews with various departments and individuals
    • Surveys, phone calls, emails
    • Division meetings devoted to basic skills learning
  • Each team presented their findings at a campus-wide meeting & some division meetings
college skills at foothill2
College Skills at Foothill
  • Each Investigative group was asked to:
    • Submit a summary of their discoveries
    • Create an initial set of recommendations to improve basic skills
    • Create a list of things we should be doing and/or new & revised goals
  • The recommendations were compiled into the current college skills action plan
college skills action plan at foothill
College Skills Action Plan at Foothill
  • Looking at this from an State perspective, our action plan needs to provide:
    • Accountability measures
    • Proof of taxpayer money well-spent
    • Legal compliance
    • Deadlines & timelines for getting the job done
    • Something to help Judy & Dolores practice writing their signatures
college skills action plan at foothill1
College Skills Action Plan at Foothill
  • Looking at this from an Foothill perspective, the action plan provides:
    • A course of direction
    • A policy and planning tool to generate change
    • A topic of conversation
    • A list of priorities to focus on
    • A tool to measure impact of change
reporting structure
Reporting Structure
  • College Skills at Foothill College
    • College Skills Steering Committee
    • Roundtable College Skills Subcommittee
    • Roundtable
college skills steering committee
College Skills Steering Committee
  • Develop highly coordinated college skills program
  • Support staff development
  • Integrate student & academic services
  • Recognition that college skills are a college-wide concern
college skills action plan
College Skills Action Plan
  • Action: Incorporate basic skills evaluative components into all formal institutional & program review & planning processes for both academic & non-academic programs. Based on Effective Practice B2.
  • Accountability: Produce a comprehensive basic skills pattern or map that shows where students enter/exit sequence
  • Impact:

Cleaned up curriculum database, courses, curriculum sheets, identified proper TOPS codes, definitions, prereqs

Students have transparent route to careers, degrees, transfer colleges, life enrichment…

Research: Capture data on where students get stuck or succeed.

college skills action plan1
College Skills Action Plan
  • Action: Administration actively supports staff development opportunities on basic skills topics. Based on Effective Practice C1.
  • Accountability: What 3 good ideas did you get from the basic skills conference you attended?
  • Impact:

“We found a college doing an intensive combined beginning & intermediate algebra course. It would be a fully loaded course (12 quarter units) & this is all the student would be doing. It's a similar idea to a language immersion course.”

“I learned that learning communities do not have to be elaborate to be effective, & have begun conversations …about doing some of that next quarter.”

“Based on the work of Ruth Stiehl, I learned how mapping a program illuminates the logic (or illogic) of course sequences, pre-requisites & student learning outcomes. This strategy is useful for program planning & curriculum development since it highlights how the themes & outcomes of a course align with those in other courses. Or not!”

college skills action plan2
College Skills Action Plan

Exposes additional problems to address

  • Action: Use collaborative efforts of the Language Arts faculty to pilot a new ESL assessment test for incoming freshmen.
  • Accountability: Shift in student success rates in ESL classes.
  • Impact:

Improved student success, retention & persistence rates in ESL & beyond.

More consistent standards and streamlined learning.

More accurately places students in classes.

college skills action plan3
College Skills Action Plan
  • Give access to view financial aid screens on SIS to all Outreach staff so they can answer simple questions for students. Effective Practice B4.
  • Accountability: Staff have access to screens.
  • Impact:

Students receive timely assistance in identifying and applying for appropriate sources of financial aid.