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Subject:

FYI

From:

Norm Stahl <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 14 Oct 2010 07:34:28 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (210 lines)

Revised paper


Referral, Enrollment, and Completion in Developmental Education 
Sequences in Community Colleges (CCRC Working Paper No. 15)

By: Thomas Bailey, Dong Wook Jeong & Sung-Woo Cho - December 2008. 
New York: Community College Research Center, Teachers College, 
Columbia University. (Revised November 2009).

After being assessed, many students entering community colleges are 
referred to one or more levels of developmental education. While the 
need to assist students with weak academic skills is well known, 
little research has examined student progression through multiple 
levels of developmental education and into entry-level college 
courses. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the patterns and 
determinants of student progression through sequences of 
developmental education starting from initial referral. We rely 
primarily on a micro-level longitudinal dataset that includes 
detailed information about student progression through developmental 
education. This dataset was collected as part of the national 
community college initiative Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges 
Count. The dataset has many advantages, but it is not nationally 
representative; therefore, we check our results against a national 
dataset-the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988.

Our results indicate that fewer than one half of the students who are 
referred to remediation actually complete the entire sequence to 
which they are referred. About 30 percent of students referred to 
developmental education do not enroll in any remedial course, and 
only about 60 percent of referred students actually enroll in the 
remedial course to which they were referred. The results also show 
that more students exit their developmental sequences because they 
did not enroll in the first or a subsequent course than because they 
failed or withdrew from a course in which they were enrolled. We also 
show that men, older students, African American students, part-time 
students, and students in vocational programs are less likely to 
progress through their full remedial sequences. 

A final version of this paper is available online, as a journal 
article in Economics of Education Review. Please 
visit:<http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/Publication.asp?UID=734>http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/Publication.asp?UID=734

<http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/DefaultFiles/SendFileToPublic.asp?ft=pdf&FilePath=c:\Websites\ccrc_tc_columbia_edu_documents\332_659.pdf&fid=332_659&aid=47&RID=659&pf=Publication.asp?UID=659> View 
PDF version


&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

   

This story is taken from <http://www.sacbee.com/>Sacbee / ... 
/ <http://www.sacbee.com/969/index.html>Wire Lifestyle 
News / <http://www.sacbee.com/847/index.html>Wire 
Lifestyle / <http://www.sacbee.com/617/index.html>Wire Campus Life

Basic skills are barrier to success for many 2-year college students

The Hechinger Report

PUBLISHED SUNDAY, OCT. 10, 2010


LOS ANGELES -- The three petite, soft-spoken Latinas are all friends. 
They graduated from Grant High School here, are on one another's 
speed dial and share a preference for electric blue. All three are 
stuck in basic-skills courses at Los Angeles Valley College after 
bombing their college placement exams, in part because they had so 
little guidance about what would be tested.

"I did bad - I was tired," said Karina Carrillo, 18. "I was surprised 
that I had to take so many English classes over. They won't even 
count as college credit for two years."

The experience of Carrillo and her classmates Sonia Ortega and 
Mariana Casillas at their two-year college reflects a graduation 
crisis at community colleges - one that President Barack Obama 
addressed at a White House summit last week. "More than half of those 
who enter community colleges fail to either earn a two-year degree or 
transfer to earn a four-year degree," Obama said.

The stakes of getting stuck in remedial classes and never earning a 
degree are especially high in California, which is home to the 
nation's largest community college system, with 112 campuses and 2.9 
million students. Nationally, between 60 percent and 80 percent are 
placed in the basic-skills classes Carrillo and her classmates can't 
escape, leading many to quit in frustration.

Remedial education is where far too many community college students 
begin and end their careers, and it remains one of the most 
intractable obstacles to graduation, said Tom Bailey, director of the 
Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia 
University. Only 31 percent of students placed into remedial math 
ever get to college-level work, and half of students referred to 
remediation of any kind complete the entire sequence, Bailey has 
found.

Bailey's research has shown that remedial education is often 
ineffective, and students who need it drop out at alarming rates. So 
Obama called for the first White House summit on community colleges 
after setting a goal last year of increasing the number of students 
who earn degrees and certificates from the two-year institutions by 5 
million in the next decade.

The placement tests that determine whether students are ready for 
college-level work are the first big hurdle to graduation, said the 
authors of a new study on California community colleges.

High school counselors aren't advising students about how to prepare 
for the tests, according to "One-Shot Deal? Students' Perceptions of 
Assessment and Course Placement in California's Community Colleges," 
by the education research agency WestEd. Too often, students who 
likely would have passed if they'd simply reviewed certain math or 
reading concepts find themselves on the remedial track.

"It wasn't a test of what you could do, but about what you could 
remember from a long time ago," one student who took algebra and 
geometry in high school told researchers. He was tested on fractions 
he hadn't studied for years and placed into basic math.

The study based its findings in part on interviews with 257 students 
at five California community colleges. It sheds new light on the 
poorly understood, and often ineffective, course-placement structure 
at the state's community colleges, which educate three-quarters of 
its college students. Too often, students get little counseling and 
may have less than a day to formulate their education plans, said 
Michael Kirst, a professor emeritus at Stanford University.

"At community colleges, people just show up and are processed 
immediately," Kirst said. "This raises questions about whether this 
one-shot assessment is an appropriate measure of what you know and 
what you don't know."

Exam questions often bear no relation to what students learned in 
high school, the study found. The exams are essentially 
one-size-fits-all, meaning that students who have small gaps in their 
knowledge or skills are placed into classes where they actually know 
most of the material. Some 83 percent of incoming students scored so 
low that they were placed in remedial math courses that don't count 
for college credit, while 72 percent of students tested into remedial 
English.

"What we found are indications of a broken system. It's shockingly 
bad, the lack of completion, and the placement into basic-skills 
classes, and the amount of time students swirl in these classes," 
said Andrea Venezia, a senior research associate at WestEd and a 
co-author of the study.

Some students also reported having to wait weeks before receiving 
their scores on placement exams. Many encountered unclear policies 
about if or when they'd be allowed to retake the exams to place out 
of remedial courses, with one school making its students wait three 
years for a second shot. Most students have nowhere to go to for 
advice: Community college counselors are swamped with caseloads of 
hundreds, or even thousands, of students.

WestEd's report comes at a time of heightened attention to completion 
rates at community colleges nationally.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced last week that it'll 
invest $35 million over the next five years to boost graduation 
rates. Last month, U.S. Education Undersecretary Martha Kanter called 
remedial education "a barrier to success," noting that too many 
students are frustrated and falling out of the system. Business 
leaders, foundation officials and educators who gathered at the White 
House last week spent hours discussing ways to dramatically boost 
graduation rates.

Robert Gabriner, a professor at San Francisco State University and a 
40-year veteran of the community college system, agrees with the 
study's recommendations that community colleges must find new ways to 
test incoming students and pinpoint their weaknesses.

"Essentially, where students are placed in the course sequence is 
their destiny - if you're placed three levels below in math, 8 
percent make it up to college-level math," Gabriner said.

Some California community colleges say they're starting to provide 
more outreach to high school students through the Internet and summer 
programs. Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif., is creating a weeklong 
summer program in which students receive advice about courses, as 
well as tips about how to be successful students.

"If we're serious, if the president is serious, about raising the 
completion rate, you can't do that unless you figure out how to get 
students in the community colleges ready to take on college-level 
work," said Mary Perry, a deputy director at EdSource, an 
independent, nonprofit research group.

Sonia Ortega, the 18-year-old freshman at Los Angeles Valley College, 
said she wishes she'd known what to expect on the placement exam. "It 
was hard," Ortega said. "We had just come from high school, and I 
knew I saw it already but I couldn't get it right."

(Jennifer Oldham is a freelance writer based in California. Jon 
Marcus and Liz Willen contributed to this report, which was produced 
by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education-news 
outlet affiliated with Teachers College, Columbia University.)

-- 
Norman A. Stahl, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Literacy Education

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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