Call for change in the way we prepare students for college level work

An article published today at Inside Higher Ed reports that the educational reform group Complete College America has been joined by the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin, the Education Commission of the United States, and Jobs for the Future to call for fundamental and structural reform in the way colleges do developmental (or remedial) education.

They write: “Recent research is making clear that if our goal is for students to enter and move through programs of study that lead to completion of a credential, remedial education as it is currently practiced simply cannot get us there.”

And elaborate seven core principles:
  1. Completion of a set of gateway courses for a program of study is a critical measure of success toward college completion.
  2.  The content in required gateway courses should align with a student’s academic program of study — particularly in math.
  3. Enrollment in a gateway college-level course should be the default placement for many more students.
  4. Additional academic support should be integrated with gateway college-level course content — as a co-requisite, not a prerequisite.
  5. Students who are significantly underprepared for college-level academic work need accelerated routes into programs of study.
  6. Multiple measures should be used to provide guidance in the placement of students in gateway courses and programs of study.
  7. Students should enter a meta-major when they enroll in college and start a program of study in their first year, in order to maximize their prospects of earning a college degree.
Since community colleges do much of this developmental work, and the majority of community college students currently do some of that course work, these principles are aimed squarely at us. The good news is that City College has already started making some of these changes. The bad news is we still have a ways to go to realize the vision articulated in these principles.
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