College Readiness Project


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A Working Definition

College readiness is the combination of skills, knowledge, and habits of mind necessary to fully participate in college-level courses (courses at the 100 level and above) to completion.

Remedial education, developmental education, pre-college or college readiness work – all of these refer to the coursework which an increasing number of our community and technical college students must complete in order to transition into college-credit courses.

In 2007-08, fifty-three (53) percent of community and technical college students who graduated from high school in 2007 took pre-college (also known as developmental or remedial) classes. These students – totaling 12,432 – enrolled in pre-college math, English or reading. ( See Role of Pre-college Education for Recent High School Graduates.)

Creating Community

Most faculty teaching pre-college courses do not have regular communication or interaction with other college readiness faculty. There is no strong community to allow for system-wide communication and collaboration. State for for Community and Technical College (SBCTC) Assessment, Teaching and Learning staff are striving to cultivate a college readiness community of practice.

There also seems to be no consistent pattern across the community and technical college system as to which faculty teach these students, how the students are assessed and placed, and what practices are used to help students persist and succeed. Pre-college coursework may be taught by discipline-specific instructors, or by adult basic education instructors. Therefore, it has been difficult to identify lead college readiness/developmental education faculty or liaisons for each college.

Research Needed

A system-wide report on college readiness, including the demographics of the students in pre-college courses, retention and success rates of transitions to college-level courses, and, identification of practices that increase student achievement is needed. This report should provide information that will help determine the focus of efforts to improve teaching and learning in the pre-college courses.

The SBCTC Assessment, Teaching and Learning staff support the college readiness community by:

  • Providing leadership at the state level
    • Serving as a resource to the college readiness community in the CTC system, including reviewing and sharing literature and current research on pre-college issues
    • Collaborating with SBCTC Adult Basic Education staff on joint projects serving pre-college faculty
    • Working with SBCTC researchers to create college readiness report and identify promising practices that can be brought to scale in pre-college coursework (e.g. I-BEST , practices by Achieving the Dream colleges)
    • Collaborating with the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education
  • Cultivating a community of practice
    • Offering a college readiness track at the spring Assessment, Teaching and Learning Conference
    • Coordinating with regional organizations for pre-college faculty
    • Collaborating with the Washington Center for Improving the Quality of Undergraduate Education on joint projects addressing pre-college needs/issues , including co-facilitating the College Readiness Retreats
  • Communicating about proven practices, research and initiatives related to increasing student success in pre-college coursework. Communication occurs through:
    • ATL blog that puts learning at the center
    • Email distribution group, including lead developmental education faculty or administrators from each college, as well as previous attendees at College Readiness Retreats

Additional Resources

Resources From Transforming Pre-College Education Workshop - Nov. 15-16, 2010

Project Background

In 1994, the Instruction Commission of Washington State’s Community and Technical Colleges requested that an effort be made to study the “readiness” of students moving from developmental reading, writing and mathematics to college entry-level courses. The request led to a statewide effort to create developmental education outcomes for the state’s two-year colleges funded by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) Assessment, Teaching & Learning initiative. Interested faculty from all the colleges were brought together to work on this project.

Purpose

The purpose of the College-Ready Project evolved into three key components:

Information Gathering

Initially, community and technical college faculty gathered information from a variety of sources:

  • Program outcomes specific to their individual colleges.
  • The work of Washington State’s Commission on Student Learning to define K-12 benchmarks.
  • The efforts in other states to define what it means to be college ready.
  • Workplace skill standards considered necessary for one to be an effective worker.
  • The work of the Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) to define minimum admission standards for four-year institutions.
  • Developmental education educators with knowledge of theories of cognitive psychology and the current research on how people learn.
  • Faculty who teach college entry-level courses for input on their expectations of what students need to be able to know and do when entering their courses in order to be successful (see Survey, Appendix APDF).

Learning Outcomes

Using this information, the Project faculty developed Learning Outcomes – general expectations for exit – for reading, writing, mathematics, student responsibility, and observing, listening, speaking. The outcomes were agreed upon by faculty in all the two-year colleges and endorsed by the Community and Technical College system’s Instruction Commission in May 19972. The learning outcomes are considered “a work in progress” and are reviewed periodically to ensure their currency and validity. Revisions have already occurred and the area of technology added since the initial efforts.


1SBCTC data show that for both transfer and workforce students combined, students who complete a developmental education course are more likely to stay in school and persist towards their transfer and workforce preparation goals making developmental education a good investment. return to citation 1

2In addition, individual colleges and/or faculty may have outcomes specific to their campus or course. return to ciatation 2

 

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