On the remedial fast track to success

Two-thirds of new community college students aren’t ready for college-level classes, said Frank Chong, deputy assistant secretary for community colleges at the U.S. Department of Education, in a panel discussion organized by American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF).

The Community College of Baltimore County (Maryland) and the Community College of Denver (CCD) in Colorado were praised for accelerating remedial classes, reports Community College Times.

“The longer the pipeline, the more chances for leakage,” said Peter Adams, director of accelerated learning at the CCBC, whose runs a developmental English program that is gaining attention in Maryland and across the country.

CCBC’s Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) allows students to enroll in freshman English while taking upper-level developmental English in small-group classes.

ALP students have the same instructors for both courses, so they feel more comfortable asking questions and the instructors can more closely monitor students’ progress.

Prior to ALP, 59 percent of students in the developmental English class passed the course, and only 37 percent moved on to English 101. Since ALP started, 81 percent pass the developmental class, and, because of simultaneous enrollment, there is no attrition rate between developmental English and English 101.

CCD’s FastStart program lets students complete two to four semesters of developmental courses in one semester. It’s geared to working adults with career goals.

Prior to FastStart, 48 percent of students in the highest remedial math course completed the remedial sequence. Since FastStart, 85 percent have completed the sequence.

Adams called for a national institute to help instructors develop effective techniques for teaching remedial courses.

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