We have had such a program at The City University of New York.  I am no
longer involved with it so I don't know in what ways it may have evolved
over time.  I'll describe in general what it was several years ago when I
was involved as the program evaluator.  (Perhaps some CUNY lurkers on the
list can add specifics.)

The program offered remedial courses to any students who had failed one or
more basic skills proficiency tests, on an optional basis.  CUNY is totally
non-residential and many of our students are a few years older than
traditional freshmen, especially at the community colleges.  Classes were
around 15 people with in-class tutors assisting the instructor and met four
days a week, so the instruction could be more intensive to make up for the
shorter semester.  Faculty were encouraged to experiment with innovative
instructional methods.  Students also had to take a freshman orientation and
advisement course on study skills and adjustment to college life.  Each
campus developed its own variation on how they structured their program and
delivered the instruction.  At the end of the program the students retook
the proficiency test in the subject they studied.  Depending on the nature
of the local program, some students could take more than one area in the
summer--e.g. some programs offered integrated reading and writing or two
consecutive summer sessions.

The evaluation results showed that, university-wide, 2/3 of the students
saved at least one remedial course from the fall semester by participating
in the program.  Followup showed that they earned more credits later than
nonparticipants, but we were unable to separate the self-selection factor
from the effects of the program.  However, most people felt the program
served a valuable purpose for the students able to take advantage of it and
saved them time by getting some of their requirements over early.  The
program also serves a social function by helping new freshmen to meet other
freshmen in the small classes and, in some cases, in organized social

It is a fair question whether the shorter session results in less depth of
learning, even if students pass the proficiency test.  I didn't have data on
that--but in my current role as statistics instructor, I also find that
students going through the full semester instruction don't always emerge
prepared for college-level courses, even after passing the proficiency test.
Perhaps other listers can comment on this.

Annette Gourgey
----- Original Message -----
From: Jim Melko <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 03, 2000 4:41 PM
Subject: Summer Programs for At-Risk Students

> I am looking for institutions which admit at-risk students into a summer
> academic program with structured learning support.  If your institution
> such a program, please let me know - especially if your students are
> primarily residential during the program and if regular student enrollment
> during the summer is relatively light.
> We will be reviewing our own program in the coming months, and one
> important question is whether or not there are compelling reasons for
> running such a program during the summer rather than the fall. In our own
> case, there are relatively few regular students on campus and our at-risk
> students are primarily residential.  Given that they are taking only two
> courses over a more condensed term (6 weeks instead of 16), the summer
> not seem to be a very realistic context for developing their academic
> skills and preparation.
> I would appreciate your insights, as well as any appropriate references
> can give me.  Thank you!
> Jim Melko
> Director of Learning Assistance
> Ryan C. Harris Learning-Teaching Center
> University of Dayton
> 300 College Park
> Dayton, Ohio 45469-1302
> phone: (937) 229-2066
> fax: (937) 229-2249
> e-mail: [log in to unmask]