Student Respond to High Expectations in Accelerated Courses

After two semesters teaching Preparation for Statistics (Math 45X) at CCSF, there’s no doubt in my mind: students respond, often exceeding my expectations, when I ask them to tackle complex problems, using high-level critical thinking and reasoning skills, and provide the support they need. Success rates and student satisfaction have been high in the accelerated math and English courses at the college. Initial data show that:

  • A student in the accelerated course, English 95X, is “1.8 to 2 times as likely to meet the English 92-93 requirement when compared to the student who enrolls in the traditional and separate English 92 and English 93 classes.”
  • A student in the accelerated course, English 961A, is “1.3 to 1.8 times as likely to meet the English 96-1A requirement when compared to the student who enrolls in the traditional and separate English 96 and English 1A classes.”
  • Students in condensed math courses succeed at rates 5 – 17% points higher than in traditional, full-semester courses.
  • Students in Math 45X pass at least 67% of the time – a significant improvement over most developmental math courses – and we’ll soon have data on how those students fared in their college-level statistics course this semester.

(Data from the Task Force on Student Equity and the Achievement Gap reports.)

Similar results are being reported from accelerated courses across the state – check out the California Acceleration Project. Based on the principles of “backward design” from the college-level course, “just in time remediation” in the context of complex questions, and attention to students’ affective domain, these courses prepare students from all levels of preparation for transfer-level math and English courses, often in just one semester.

I am proud of the work we are doing. In these difficult budgetary times, it’s important to celebrate our successes and acknowledge the positive changes the college is making to close the achievement gap. Look for more results from accelerated courses as soon as it’s available from the college’s research office.

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