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I can't believe this isn't a topic worthy of discussion on the whole list.. we have the same issues and are currently/constantly trying to figure out how to address this issue.

One serious difficulty is ascertaining which students really aren't going to be served by our facility and which ones could be reached across the yawning gap of the assorted obstacles to their success, because it goes well beyond literacy skills. 

It's time to go HOME for me... but I was afraid this would be one of those awful posts that had forty-five replies saying "send it to me, too!"  Would you be up for emailing on the list about what you do?  

Susan Jones
Academic Development Specialist
Academic Development Center
Parkland College
Champaign, IL  61821
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>>> "Leahy, Mary" <[log in to unmask]> 2/8/2007 5:36 AM >>>
Geoff,

We've had a reading and writing competency requirement in place at COD since 1995. We continually work to improve this process and are now in the process of applying for NADE Certification of our Developmental English Program. I'd be happy to share the particulars of what we do with you, if you'd like to e-mail me or give me a call. You could even stop by to visit one day, especially since you are so close! 

In a nutshell, all credit-seeking students are required to take placements tests before registering for classes (we do have a strict prerequisite system in place). Students take the ACT Compass Reading Placement Test for reading, and the ACT Compass English Test. If students score below a certain level on the English test, we ask them to write and essay, which faculty scores with rubrics for further placement. Students are then placed into appropriate courses to meet their literacy needs. Students need to pass these courses with a "C" or better, and pass an exit test (the same types of tests they previously took) before they may register for 100 level courses and above. 

Mary



Mary C. Leahy
Associate Professor, English
Coordinator, Developmental Reading and Writing
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd.
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
630-942-3607
Fax: 630-942-3711
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-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals on behalf of Geoffrey Krader
Sent: Thu 2/8/2007 12:40 AM
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: Low literacy levels in developmental reading and writing courses
 
A colleague of mine who teaches English initiated an online discussion at 
our college about the literacy level among students placing into our lowest 
level developmental reading and writing courses (his note is appended to 
this message).  He asked me to share the note with all of you to see if we 
could learn from experiences and insights at other colleges.  In particular, 
do you see similar issues in your developmental reading and writing courses 
and, if so, do you have any recommendations for dealing with these issues?

Here is the note:

Within the English dept. over the past few months we have been taking a hard 
look at the two lowest levels of developmental reading & writing.  After a 
good deal of discussion, here is our consensus, very much condensed:

       Students at these levels demonstrate sub-high-school literacy (first 
on standardized placement tests, later verified via classroom assessment).

       We question whether it is appropriate to admit students with this 
literacy level as regular, matriculated college students.

       We also are very concerned about the phenomenon of very low literacy 
students taking college-level courses at the 100 and even 200 level.

       We question whether the current system is best for these students, 
regarding their academic progress and related to other issues such as 
expenses and financial aid.

We would like to talk about other approaches to meeting the needs of very 
low literacy students which might improve upon current practices. Some 
possibilities that have come up include non-credit college-literacy-prep 
courses, expanding academic ESL offerings, identifying community resources 
for referrals, etc.

Thanks for your comments and insights,

Geoff Krader
Morton College
Cicero, Illinois

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