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I attended the conference last week, and it was both phenomenal and challenging. Here are a few of the things that I took away from the conference:

Developmental education, in its current form, is not working. Persistence, retention, and graduation rates are abysmal. Thomas Bailey showed an interesting (yet discouraging) slide showing the percentage of students who drop out between each step and how few ever make it to graduation.

Overall, placement tests are not doing an adequate job placing students into the appropriate courses. Panelists encouraged using noncognitive assessments in addition to the standard COMPASS or ASSET tests. I have a list at home of four factors to consider that I'll try to remember to bring tomorrow.

Some of the promising practices such as learning communities, contextualized courses, modular courses, etc. are showing very modest improvement in student success. Some studies show that these interventions aren't making much of a difference while others demonstrate a small increase in retention. 

The main takeaway from the conference is that we need revolution as well as evolution. Programs are not going to solve the problems in developmental education; a systemic revolution must occur on campuses in order to see a significant change.

Although this all sounds very discouraging, I am encouraged to see so many different organizations (NCPR, NADE, Lumina, Gates, Jobs for the Future, etc.) looking into ways to revolutionize developmental education.

Please feel free to ask any questions you have about the conference. I'll do my best to answer them!

Donna Hill, Chair
English Department
Ouachita Technical College
One College Circle
Malvern AR 72104
501.332.0251



-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Annette Hawkins
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2010 10:22 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: National Center for Postsecondary Research Conference

Hi All,

Did anyone on the list attend the National Center for Postsecondary
Research conference on developmental education held last week in New
York?  If so, could you share the highlights?  Thanks.

Annette D. Hawkins, Ed. D.
Math Department Head
Wayne Community College
3000 Wayne Memorial Drive
Goldsboro, NC 27534
919-735-5151 x 6863
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