So, how do we as a community of educators get this message out to the decision-makers who are in the statistics mentality for measuring success?  

Let your life speak.

Charlene Aldrich, Instructor
Academic Coordinator 
Palmer Campus
Trident Technical College
Charleston, SC  29412

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of rick-lsche
Sent: Friday, April 18, 2014 5:46 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: From Inside Higher

I applaud and support both Luann Walker's and Charlene Aldrich's comments and responses below.  We need to be careful in making assumptions about the students' purposes and goals as community college students.  When students enter a university degree program, I would assume they are seeking that degree.  Community Colleges serve many functions, to assume that all students enrolled in a developmental course are seeking a two-year degree and should complete it in four years is not a valid assumption.  I began working in the Community Colleges in Learning Assistance in 1982 and am certified to teach developmental and college-level reading, math, computer, and education courses.  I have taught developmental math courses and even worked to offer a beginning algebra class that added a fourth credit hour to focus on math anxiety issues, it had a very good record of students success measured by the goals the students stated when they started the class. Not all were planning to get a two-year or four-year degree, though many were.


Community college student goals can include the following:

ˇ         to move on from the Adult Basic Ed and GED courses to the next

ˇ         wanting to upgrade job skills and need the remedial course to
prepare them for the course that will do that

ˇ         wanted to improve their reading or writing skills to attain a
different goal

ˇ         are taking one or two classes a semester while working full time
in hopes that in 8 or ten years they will be able to have a college
(two-year) degree.

ˇ         didn't do well in high school and wanted to see what college was
all about

ˇ         try out different community colleges and online options for
courses they take based on convenience and current need

ˇ         determined to overcome a learning subject obstacle like math

ˇ         take some classes to be able to transfer to a university to attain
a four-year degree

ˇ         students attending who are working on their two-year degree


My own former community college states the following mission:

The Mission of Paradise Valley Community College is to educate the whole person and to serve our students and our communities by providing learning opportunities that are designed to help them achieve their goals.

PVCC provides diverse learning opportunities including:

ˇ         University transfer education

ˇ         General education

ˇ         Developmental education

ˇ         Continuing education

ˇ         Community education

ˇ         Workforce development

ˇ         Student development

ˇ         Honors education

ˇ         Global engagement

ˇ         Civic responsibility

PVCC provides access to these opportunities in a welcoming, inclusive, and supportive environment.  As a college committed to learning and continuous quality improvement, PVCC annually assesses and publishes reports concerning the effectiveness of our programs and services.

Community colleges, by design have been open door institutions providing a myriad of educational opportunities.  Without knowing a student's reasons, plans or goals in taking remedial courses at a community college, it is inappropriate to measure their success as you would a university student enrolled in a degree program. As Charlene mentioned below, some of our developmental education students worked hard to get here and are dealing daily with life obstacles we can only imagine. When not having an opportunity to attend post-secondary classes before or when no one in their family has ever attended college before, just being at the college and taking the class is a success. For some, coming to the developmental class is one hope they have in making a change, even if they are not successful on the first attempt on some of their classes.  The dedication they show to attend and make education a priority is something.  It may take someone years to get a certificate which will allow him/her to get the promotion dreamed of.  Is this not a success? For many the remedial course is the only hope of success in math as it was an obstacle all of their school life.  


Any plans aimed at creating one standard to measure the success of community college students taking developmental or remedial classes is doomed to failure unless it truly accounts for the opportunities for student success that a community college can provide to support reasons, goals, and dreams.
The use of an extended timeline and an exit process in helping to assess a students' success in reaching their own educational goals can help.


I agree that there need to be some changes, beginning with how we define success for community college students.  On some campuses, the vast majority (even 75%) of developmental classes are often taught by part-time faculty
(adjunct) who are not available for office hours and may not be aware of the campuses resources. A major fix needs to be in how we view developmental education and offer the faculty the respect and support needed to be more successful in helping these courses work well as we support and help students reach their educational goals.  We can all work to help make the developmental courses be a better and working onramp to college-level courses, but that does not necessarily mean degree-seeking.


We really need to be wary of making false assumptions in determining whether a student is successful in attaining their educational goals.  Research can be such a valuable tool for making change as long as we are aware and realize the assumptions and limitations of the research study and of conclusions drawn. 




Rick Sheets, Ed.D.

LSC Director, Paradise Valley Community College (retired)

ITTPC Coordinator, CRLA

LSCHE Co-founder & Webmaster



websites: & <> 


-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Walker, Luann Ronae
Sent: Friday, April 18, 2014 8:34 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: From Inside Higher


That 10% only captures those that graduated from that institution. What about the ones who transfer? I would be interested in the statistics for student who complete remedial courses, go on to complete college level (I always have the Dev reading and writing courses that go on to take ENG 1100), and simply transfer to a University to complete their BA without graduating from the community college.


Does anyone have stats likes that from their school?


Luann Walker

Graduate Student

Texas State University

 <mailto:[log in to unmask]> [log in to unmask]




On 4/18/14 9:56 AM, "Aldrich,Charlene" < <mailto:[log in to unmask]> [log in to unmask]>



>Hurray for that 10% who overcame the deficiencies which prevented them

>from getting into a school that doesn't have an open-door policy!

>Sometimes community colleges are their last hope for higher education,

>and developmental instructors are their only cheerleaders.


>Let your life speak.



>Charlene Aldrich, Instructor

>Academic Coordinator

>Palmer Campus

>Trident Technical College

>Charleston, SC  29412






>-----Original Message-----

>From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals

>[ <mailto:[log in to unmask]> mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Norman Stahl

>Sent: Friday, April 18, 2014 10:27 AM

>To:  <mailto:[log in to unmask]> [log in to unmask]

>Subject: From Inside Higher


>Remediation Is Badly Broken





>April 18, 2014




>Stan Jones





>Remedial education and the instructors who provide it are critical to

>maintaining college access and increasing student success, but the

>traditional model deployed by most colleges and universities is badly

>broken. Complete College Americašs call for reform is not about the

>total elimination of remediation. It is about transforming the system

>to ensure more students succeed.

>The numbers are staggering: of the up to 60 percent of community

>college students who are assigned to remediation, 10 percent graduate

>within three years. Even given four years for a two-year degree,

>chances remain slim that these students will complete college. Further,

>70 percent of students placed into remedial math never even attempt a

>college-level gateway course within two academic years.

>These numbers -- which are provided by the campuses and states -- are

>indisputable evidence that we can no longer defend the status quo when

>it comes to remedial education. They are also a poignant reminder that

>we must not measure our success by whether students pass remedial

>education courses alone, but instead implement models that dramatically

>increase the number of students who pass gateway college-level courses

>and ultimately earn a degree. Doing any less would be to deny millions

>of Americans access to the one proven means to finding a well-paying

>job and entering the middle class -- a college credential.

>In working with the 34 members of our Alliance of States, Complete

>College America has sought out the strategies and best practices that

>most effectively address these challenges. Most importantly, these

>innovations have been developed and implemented by college faculty who

>are passionately committed to student success.

>The Accelerated Learning Program (ALP), developed by longtime community

>college English instructor Peter Adams, has doubled success rates for

>students, with 74 percent completing gateway courses in English in one

>semester. Likewise, the Structured Assistance program, developed by

>Tristan Denley when he was at Austin Peay State University, provides

>students who previously required remedial courses additional support in

>learning labs while they are enrolled in gateway college-level courses.

>The results have been astounding, with 78 percent of students

>successfully completing gateway courses in quantitative reasoning and

>65 percent in statistics in a single term -- up from about 10 percent

>under traditional remediation models.

>In these approaches, institutions are not eliminating remedial

>education, as some have suggested. Instead, they are shifting it from a

>prerequisite requirement to a corequisite, where students receive

>support while enrolled in the gateway courses. By delivering

>corequisite remediation alongside the college-level course, we

>eliminate attrition points -- the moments where students are most

>likely to fall out of the system -- and give remedial education

>instructors a framework in which many, many more of their students can

>succeed. We have found that it is not what happens in classrooms that

>is the problem -- but what happens from one semester to the next. 

>Lengthening a studentšs academic program by adding time and courses

>reduces the likelihood of their graduation. We are excited that

>innovators have found a way to solve the attrition problem without
compromising the quality of instruction or lowering academic standards.

>Around the country, efforts like corequisite remediation are gaining

>momentum. At a White House summit this past winter, 22 states made

>commitments to significantly increase the percentage of students placed

>into remedial education who complete gateway courses in one academic

>year. In addition, seven states have committed to scaling corequisite

>remediation statewide by 2015, ensuring that the majority of

>underprepared students in their states receive the academic support

>they need while enrolled in gateway courses.

>These principles for reform are based on a recognition that our current

>system allows too many students to fall through the cracks -- students

>who want nothing more than an opportunity to chase their dreams and

>reach their full potential. Our work is not a devaluation of the

>extraordinary efforts undertaken by remedial education instructors, but

>a challenge for all of us to work together and empower their work with

>innovation and ingenuity.

>At Complete College America, we believe -- and research has shown





>k.dpbs) -- that far more students can succeed in college-level gateway

>courses than are currently placed into them. But we also know that such

>successes are dependent on additional support. Many students need

>remediation, but we have to deliver it in a way that is effective.

>CCA supports any and all models that can show dramatic improvements in

>the number of students who successfully complete gateway math and

>English courses and ultimately earn a college degree. We look forward

>to continuing to work with faculty and higher education leaders from

>across the country to accomplish this critical goal.













>Stan Jones is president and founder of Complete College America, a

>national nonprofit working to significantly increase the number of

>Americans with a college degree or credential of value and to close

>attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations.





>IF you care to write a comment on this piece...go to

> <
> -e>











>Read more: 

> <
> -e>



>Inside Higher Ed


>Norman Stahl

> <mailto:[log in to unmask]> [log in to unmask]





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