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Challenges and Opportunities for Student Success Norman A. Stahl. Ranked First by U.S. News. Global Context is Examining Key Transition Spaces. The College and Career Readiness movement P-20 Pipeline Reform Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI)

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global context is examining key transition spaces
Global Context is Examining Key Transition Spaces
  • The College and Career Readiness movement P-20 Pipeline Reform
  • Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI)
  • Lumina’s (2009; 2012) “Big Goal” of 60% attainment 2025
  • President Obama’s goal: 10 million more postsecondary-credentialed citizens by 2020
  • The college and career readiness movement has been a catalyst for investigating the transition space between P/K-12 education and college
impacting practice new definition
Impacting Practice: New Definition

College Readiness

The key intellectual content knowledge, skills, dispositions, and attributes needed to complete entry-level, credit-bearing, general education courses across a range of subjects and disciplines.

Conley, Aspengren, Gallagher & Nies, 2006 for America Diploma Project

global context according to nade
Global Context According to NADE

Developmental education coursework is a mode of access to higher education

(NADE, 2010)

  • Efficacy is being questioned (e.g., Calcagno & Long, 2008; Complete College America, 2011, 2012, Jenkins, Jaggars, & Roska, 2009; Martorell & McFarlin, 2007; Vandal, 2010)
  • Increasing enrollment in developmental courses (e.g., American Institutes for Research, 2006; Associated Press, 2006)
  • Degree completion (Wirt, et al, 2004, para. 3)
shaking foundation
Shaking Foundation
  • Roughly 14%of students who begin studies in a community college do not complete a single credit in their first academic year.
  • At least a quarter of entering fall-term students do not return for the subsequent spring term. Almost half are gone by the second semester.
still shaking
Still Shaking
  • Just 31% have earned an associates degree after three years.
  • Fewer than half of community college students who aspire to earn associate or bachelor’s degrees, or transfer to four-year institutions, achieve this goal within six years.
  • McClenney, K. (2009, April 29). Helping community-college students succeed: A moral Imperative. The Chronicle of Higher Education, pp. A60.
  • Condition of Education
  • Digest of Education Statistics
  • Projections of Education Statistics
  • Go to
local context
Local Context

Developmental Education Coursework

General Education and Career/Technical Coursework

pipeline metaphor2
Pipeline Metaphor
  • Throughout the pipeline there are multiple exit points. The more classes the student must take, the more opportunities for the student to leave whether for academic performance, financial issues, or life events.
  • Economists posit that attrition is a structural problem that can be overcome in part by policy.
is the pipeline a faulty metaphor
Is the Pipeline a Faulty Metaphor ?

For the at-risk student pipeline leakage is a PK-16 issue. There are in reality many transition spaces across the years…some good …some bad. The effect of being underprepared and misprepared for the next step on the ladder (another bad metaphor) is an exponential factorbecause of the issue of prior knowledge or competency as required for classes or expereinces requiring greater sophistication.

borrowing from adult literacy theory larry mikulecky
Borrowing from Adult Literacy TheoryLarry Mikulecky
  • Developmental Education has been a case of triage when it should be a case of adoption of the student.
  • Implication: A student deemed to be at-risk on day one will need academic and personal support through the entire higher education experience.
  • (San Francisco State EOP model)
developmental education
Developmental Education

Three Points

  • The Joys of Being Low Hanging Fruit
  • New Ideas and Reinventing the Wheel
  • On the Radar or Not
in horticulture you do not prune only one branch
In Horticulture You Do Not Prune Only One Branch
  • The powers that be are not going to stop with the lowest branches when there is a general feeling that much of higher education is in need of reform.
  • Hence, are we reforming in isolation and we will have to reform again once the branches further up in the canopy are pruned.
social programs
Social Programs
  • The current field was born of the social consciousness of the 1960s and 1970s.
  • The current field was based on developmental psychology theorygoing all the way back to psychogenic law. Yet the translation of that theory particularly in community colleges evolved into a skills progression as in elementary and secondary school remedial instruction often with numerous sequenced sub-level courses (a staircase effect).
dirty little secret
Dirty Little Secret

Administrators and numerous faculty welcomed the pipeline leakage as they felt “those students” in a developmental education class should never be in “real” (my) college classes.

Developmental education was explicitly or implicitly a gatekeeper(disliked but essential).

It was not politically correct to acknowledge such a stance, and we were missionaries.

higher education benchmarks for the current decade
Higher Education Benchmarks for the Current Decade
  • Accountability/Productivity
  • Affordability
  • Access, Retention, Benchmarks, Graduation
  • Worldwide Stage: Kick the Finns

(Not just for developmental education or learning assistance)

redesign to promote initial retention
Redesign to Promote Initial Retention
  • Reduce the amount of time in developmental course work
  • Reduce the number of credits required in developmental course work
  • Reduce the number of classes on the developmental education ladder
contextualized approaches
Contextualized Approaches
  • Contextualized Basic Skills Instruction (Traditional) *
  • Integrated Basic Skills Instruction (I-Best in WA) *

Perin, D. (2011). Facilitating Student Learning Through Contextualization: A Review of Evidence. Community College Review, 20 (10), 1-28.


Perin, D. (2013). Teaching Academically Underprepared Students in Community Colleges. In J. S. Levin & S. T. Kater (Eds.), Understanding community colleges (pp.87-103). New York, NY: Routledge.

accelerated programs
Accelerated Programs
  • Compressed Courses
  • Integrated Courses (IRW) (3 or 6)*
  • Curricular Redesign
  • Module Approaches *

The Accelerated Learning Program: Throwing Open the Gates

Peter Adams, Sarah Gearhart, Robert Miller, and Anne Roberts (2009). Journal of Basic Writing, 28 (2), 50-69.


Accelerated English at Chabot College: A Synthesis of Key Findings

Katie Hern. (2011). California Acceleration Project.

freshman year beyond
Freshman Year & Beyond
  • Learning Communities*
  • FYE*
  • Student Success courses*
  • Mainstreaming with supplemental support*
  • Adjunct/Paired/Co-req classes (1 or 3)*
  • Learning to Learn (Learning Frameworks) courses*
fixing the problem before hand
Fixing the “Problem” Before Hand
  • Early assessment and intervention
  • Dual enrollment
  • Transition courses
  • Summer bridge programs
  • Alliance Programs
  • Standards Movement (Common Core)
please consider
Please Consider
  • If reform leads to more sophisticated classes that are truly developmental and based on pedagogical research and sciences, then credit for graduation should be given for successful completion of this college experience.
the quandary
The Quandary
  • Many of the current innovations can be found in the literature going back for decades…Is that bad???
  • The question may be why did it take so long for these curricular and instructional models (many with a strong foundation in theory and research) to find acceptance?
harry singer literacy researcher president of nrc
Harry Singer(Literacy Researcher & President of NRC)

The following statement has been attributed to Harry Singer…

“It takes ten years for literacy theory and research to find its way into pedagogical practice.”

Why did it take a decade to move from theory to practice? Is this true today?

on the developmental education radar screen 2013
On the Developmental Education Radar Screen 2013

Eric Paulson, (2013). Journal of Developmental Education, 36 (3), 36-37.

2013 findings
2013 Findings
  • On the radar and should be on the radar: Assessment, Developmental Math, Community Colleges, IRW
  • Should be on the radar:Evaluation, Institutional Research, Mixed-Methods Research, Quantitative Research, Theory
  • Off the radar:Strategy instruction, Affective Domain, Cultural/Linguistic, Self-efficacy, Instructor Certification, Classroom Studies, Teacher Research, Theory
  • What about Basic Writing and Devo Reading?
common core state standards
Common Core State Standards

Programs must align with PK-12 feeder schools

Reading innovations

  • Disciplinary literacy
  • Complexity of text
  • Close reading
  • PARCC or Smarter Balance Assessment Procedures
impact of common core constructs
Impact of Common Core Constructs
  • Faculty in the college disciplines don’t have a clue on what is the CCSS, how to teach students educated by the standards, or how to build upon the new approaches to learning.
  • Developmental faculty should be the translators and the professional development specialists on each campus. This is a position of power.
changes due to ccss
Changes Due to CCSS
  • How must reading classes, composition classes, math classes, and learning strategy classes adapt to the pedagogy of the CCSS and the students who are the product of the CCSS? The product in the pipeline will change…at least that is the promise.
  • As an example…think about the college study skills course of today as well as the texts for these courses…Generic orientation

Elisabeth A. Barnett and Maria Cormier

Developmental Education Aligned to the Common Core State Standards: Insights and Illustrations

oh my god i m going to quote henry kissinger
OH My God!! I’m Going to Quote Henry Kissinger.

A leader who confines his role to his people's experience dooms himself to stagnation; a leader who outstrips his people's experience runs the risk of not being understood.

If I ever quote Nixon, you’ll need to Gibbs’ slap me.

paradigm shifts
Paradigm Shifts

“Disciplinary literacyis based on the premise that students can develop deep conceptual knowledge in a discipline only by using the habits of reading, writing, talking, and thinking which that discipline values and uses.”

(McConachie, S., Hall, M., Resnick, L., Raci, A., Bill, V, Bintz, J., Taylor, J., 2006)

what is a strategy
What is a Strategy?
  • What is a generic strategy
  • SQ3R
  • Cornell Notetaking
  • Highlighting
  • Marginal Notes

The thought is that these prototypical strategies are apropos for all disciplines.

why disciplinary literacy matters
Why Disciplinary Literacy Matters

Each discipline poses its own literacy challenges

  • Vocabulary
  • Concepts
  • Discourses
  • Language use
and furthermore
And furthermore…

Each discipline requires:

  • Explicit instruction in the literacies of the discipline


  • Explicit instruction of content


University of Pittsburgh

disciplinary strategy
Disciplinary Strategy
  • History

Corroboration: comparison of documents

Sourcing: Identifying the source of the document before reading it to determine possible bias

Contextualizing: Considering the time and place of the events in the text



Analysis of Expert Readersin Three Disciplines: History,Mathematics, and ChemistryCynthia Shanahan, Timothy Shanahan,and Cynthia Misischia(2011). Journal of Literacy Research, 43(4) 393–429

disciplinary literacy
Disciplinary Literacy

Tamara L. Jetton


Cynthia Shanahan

please remember
Please Remember

Every time we adopt a new set of standards, we open up the door for there to be a new set of students who do not meet the standards.

Will these students be the new a-risk students…the new developmental education students…the new special education students…the new yet to be labeled students???


Which sucks more a. the Compass b. the Accuplacer c. the 200th form of the Nelson Denny Reading Test d. any test approved by the Higher Education Coordinating Board e. any test for which I do not get a royalty

assessment and access
Assessment and Access

Postsecondary institutions’ need to employ meaningful forms of assessment that respect each individual’s life/developmental stage, cultural background, gender, etc.

assessment and access1
Assessment and Access

Postsecondary institutions and state offices of higher education need to understand the appropriate role of standardized testing and then to develop pedagogically sound and research driven assessment programs that go beyond standardized testing (i.e., multiple measures and affective measures) –

assessment and access2
Assessment and Access
  • Postsecondary institutions need to accept that multifarious assessment data on students and classes can and should be used as part of program evaluation (i.e., multiple measures and localized measures).
      • (Supreme Court decision on Hall vs. Florida…potential impact?)
assessment and access3
Assessment and Access

Developmental education and learning assistance programs need to keep abreast of the continuing discussions associated with the issue of mandatory vs. voluntary assessment and the placement of students in developmental and content field course work.

assessment and access4
Assessment and Access

Institutions need to direct specific attention to the moral and legal issues associated with the admission of all students to higher education study.

  • Evaluate Forward and Backward Alignment with General Education and CTE courses.
  • Forward…examine whether, how, and to what extent courses in which students will likely be enrolled simultaneously align.
  • Backward…examine whether, how, and to what extent courses which feed from one to another align whether within the college or between secondary school and the college.

Conducting reality checks to improve students’ strategic learning.

M.L. Simpson

Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 40(2), 102-109.

new forms of assessment common core
New Forms of AssessmentCommon Core
  • It’s not your mother’s Accuplacer any longer!
  • SmarterBalanced

Assessing Developmental Assessment in Community Colleges

K.L. Hughes, & J. Scott-Clayton. (2011). (CCRC Working Paper No. 19, Assessment of Evidence Series). New York, NY: Columbia University, Teachers College, Community College Research Center.

problems for access problems for diversity
Problems for AccessProblems for Diversity
  • Shifting developmental education from four-year schools to community colleges and from community colleges to adult education.
  • ELL growth without growth in culturally sensitive policies and support systems
  • Expectations that there are one size fits all support models
  • Utter failure in recruiting, educating, supporting, retaining, and graduating males of color
  • Lack of well funded PK-16 partnership models
adjunct services new responsibilities new accountability
Adjunct Services: New Responsibilities & New Accountability
  • Learning Assistance Centers*
  • Tutoring & Mentoring*
  • Peer Cooperative Learning Programs*
future of learning assistance
Future of Learning Assistance

What will be the implications of the redesign of developmental education for learning assistance programming??? Short run and long run…?

Will learning assistance programming be put under the microscope as the second generation of redesign???

impact on learning assistance
Impact on Learning Assistance
  • More students to serve but no additional budget
  • Clients with lower skill levels and content knowledge
  • Greater scrutiny by the academic units
  • Greater sophistication in assessment and evaluation required
  • Need for more staff and highly trained staff for new clients
future of learning assistance1
Future of Learning Assistance

How will Learning Assistance Programs adapt and adopt to the cognitive constructs and pedagogy associated with the CCSS or the new delivery systems of higher education?

How will Learning Assistance leaders revise training protocols for their professional staff and their peer assistance staff to meet the new postsecondary learning environment?

postsecondary peer cooperative learning programs annotated bibliography
Postsecondary Peer CooperativeLearning Programs: AnnotatedBibliography

Compiler/Editor: David R. Arendale

Available at


Five Trends Influencing Higher Education

  • 1. Common Core State Standards
  • 2. Flipped classes 
  • 3.Gamification
  • 4. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)
  • 5. School choice (Charter Schools)

Which ones will have impact on Developmental Studies and Learning Assistance?

robert slavin olatokunbo fashola
Robert Slavin & Olatokunbo Fashola

Change in educational practice more resembles change in fashion; hemlines go up and down according to popular tastes, not evidence. We do give lip service to research in education. Yet practices…go in and out of fashion, often in direct contradiction to well-established evidence, but more often in the absence of adequately rigorous and compelling research.

key questions on research
Key Questions on Research
  • Quantitative, Qualitative
  • Mixed Methods
  • Basic, Applied, Action
do not run from research
Do Not Run from Research

Literacy Research Methodologies (2011)

Nell K. Duke & Marla H. Mallette

The Guilford Press

formative and design research
Formative and Design Research

David Reinking and Barbara Bradley

Formative and Design Experiments: Approaches to Language and Literacy Research

Teachers College Press

action research training
Action Research Training

Action Research

Cathy Caro-Bruce

The Video Journal of Education

Volume 11, No. 7

developmental educators and learning assistance professionals hqt
Developmental Educators and Learning Assistance Professionals HQT?

A recurring theme in the literature suggests that few if any of the individuals working with at-risk postsecondary students are trained specifically for such a function.

Such will be a greater issues as faculty are asked to cross borders such in integrated reading and writing classes.

operation bootstrap
Operation Bootstrap
  • Active Membership – Where?
  • Regular Reading in Our Journals – What?
  • Seek Advanced Training – How?
bedford st martin s p rofessional resources
Bedford/St. Martin’s Professional Resources

The Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Basic Writing

Developmental Education: Readings on Its Past, Present, and Future

Teaching Developmental Reading: Historical, Theoretical, and Practical Background Readings

Teaching Developmental Writing: Background Readings

Teaching Study Strategies in Developmental Education

further professional development
Further Professional Development
  • Provide campus-wide training on the advanced reading components of the CCSS.
  • Provide specific training on disciplinary literacy.
  • Developmental Educators should be the experts providing the training!
final thoughts
Final Thoughts

How much time I got left???

OK Then…


It’s not developmental education, which everybody calls remedial classwork, but only because they do not know or forgot the term compensatory education, or they are afraid to admit that they used the term bonehead Englishwhen they were enrolled in college…


It is


If you leave San Francisco for the Napa Valley wine country and you only get to San Rafael, you should not be judged on your knowledge of the Napa Valley.

(I stole that metaphor, but let’s act like I didn’t.)


Contact Information

Norm Stahl (AKA…Uncle Norm, Steeleyes Cody, Gibbs, and Papa Smurf)

Professor Emeritus, Literacy Education, Northern Illinois University