Daley College’s Remediation Initiative

Did you see THIS article from Inside Higher Ed in July?

The program got a mention in the recent Reader article, but not much of a description. There’s a little more here:

While most two-year institutions struggle with the high costs and low passing rates of remedial courses, administrators in one Chicago community college believe they’ve found a way to double pass rates.

“This is the most exciting project, in all my years in higher education, that I’ve ever collaborated on,” said Daley College President Jose Aybar. “The results have been startling across disciplines.”

Aybar said Daley’s new supplemental remedial program, “Comprehensive Academic Support and Help to Return on Investment,” (CASH-to-ROI), led to dramatic improvement in student success. CASH-to-ROI isn’t meant to replace remedial courses but to supplement them with group study sessions, which some Daley students were required to attend during the spring 2011 semester.

Awful name, but (maybe) some impressive results?

California’s Early Assessment Program: Remediation Reduction

At least that’s what they’re after according to this article in Education Week:

The Early Assessment Program draws praise for doing something few thought possible: It brought together K-12 and higher education and got them to agree on the knowledge and skills that constitute college-level mastery. They created a test that sends rising high school seniors an early signal about their readiness in mathematics and literacy, and allows those who meet the mark to go right into credit-bearing coursework as college freshmen, skipping remedial classes. To complete the picture, they crafted a suite of courses to bring lagging 12th graders up to college-level snuff and added training for preservice and in-service teachers…

“We’ve gone from a system [of state tests] that looks backward, asking how well we did, to one that looks ahead, asking if we have really gotten students ready for college,” said Douglas McRae, who helped design the state’s tests in the 1990s. “That’s a big mindset shift.”

It’s not all cherries and sunshine, though.

Critics note that a crucial question about the EAP—whether it is a valid measure of college readiness—hasn’t been fully answered. CSU has not yet completed its study of how students fare in credit-bearing work after EAP exemptions from remedial courses. One small study, from Santa Rosa Junior College, did find that students with EAP exemptions had higher grade point averages in their college coursework than those of the college’s general population.

William G. Tierney, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education, urged policymakers in a 2008 paper to “suspend the extensive accolades the EAP has gotten based on sketchy evidence” of its success.

It’s an interesting model, though, and Burnham-esque in its ambitions. Definitely worth reading about.

On the Importance of Class Size

This article from Education Next is an interesting take on class size and something to (possibly) consider in the Remedial Education discussions…

If you start with the assumption that some things are more easily learned in small groups than in large groups, then it becomes clear that organizing students into classrooms with one teacher all day long results in significantly reduced student learning compared to just about any other way of grouping teachers with students. Add to that the enormous benefits that accrue when teachers effectively collaborate with and learn from each other and the advantages of No Max School become apparent.

And I Quote…

From the Chancellor’s email sent Friday, August 6th:

“It is clear to me that people who are desperate, but not afforded an opportunity, will create their own sometimes lethal opportunities. While that in no way excuses the violent or illegal actions of a few, it certainly serves as an object at which we have a moral obligation to focus our energy.  We must be an institution that is viewed as relevant to our students, potential students, and business communities.  While this is core to our mission at the City Colleges of Chicago, it is equally important to acknowledge the work that must be done to not only provide opportunity, but to also teach compassion, humanity, and community.”

So, umm…if it is people who are desperate and not afforded an opportunity that are likely to do violence and it is our moral obligation to focus our energy on helping them, why are we hearing about moving away from open enrollment?

How would that help? I am, clearly, easily confused…

The Mayor Weighs In on Remediation…

Here or here.

Notice the slight step back after the follow up question; could it possibly be that he didn’t expect or realize that the suggestion that CCC enrollees are not prepared for college would necessarily be a criticism of the effectiveness of Chicago Public Schools? I mean it seems like a ridiculous point to bring up at a presser lauding the number of CPS students in college. Then again, I’m not a Politician.

Check out, too, the comments on the Sun-Times version (the first one), in particular; clearly some CCC faculty there. Angry ones, no less.

Developmental Education: “Follow the Money”

So there’s been a flurry of news about developmental education (a.k.a., remediation) lately, like this, coming out of last weekend’s national conference for community colleges. We’ve had some of our own discussions about these topics, too (e.g., here and here and here and here), and I was reminded while sifting through various reports on remediation of  a comment by our own MathisSexy, which I’ve highlighted in the title.

It seems that, at the moment, remediation is where the money is.

From the article:

Community colleges should replace weak remedial programs with innovative practices as a way to increase completion rates, Melinda F. Gates, co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told two-year college leaders Tuesday as she delivered the closing speech here at the American Association of Community Colleges’ annual meeting.

To that end, Ms. Gates said that her foundation is spending up to $110-million to work with dozens of partners, including colleges and school districts, to develop groundbreaking models for remedial education and to replicate effective practices.

There’s a fair amount of hype about it, too, as here. Apparently, it is not Math that is sexy; it is remedial math that is sexy and remediation which will save the civitas.

Yet, as committed as I am to the idea of an open enrollment institution of higher education, I am, when this topic arises, driven back to the comments of a former colleague (and philosopher, Jim Schulz), who thought it to be a moral imperative that a college, community or otherwise, NOT willingly accept the role of preparing students to be in itself.

His argument as expressed at one of the first department meetings I ever attended was, to paraphrase, that we have few resources, and our job is to be a college, not a preparatory school for college. Thus, he argued, we should direct the resources we have toward those students who are ready to be in college and already in college with us (but otherwise excluded from the opportunity), rather than drain off significant resources from that task to do the work that ought to be done by the high schools. By agreeing to fix their failures, he argued, we let them off the hook for what they don’t do and do so at the expense of the students whom we’re supposed to serve.

I didn’t agree with him then, and I don’t now. I do, however, think about his argument often.