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ERIC Number: ED506649
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun-30
Pages: 179
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
The Massachusetts Community Colleges Developmental Education Best Policy and Practice Audit: Final Report
Sperling, Charmian
Online Submission
The purpose of this study, funded by Jobs for the Future through a grant to the Massachusetts Community Colleges Executive Office, was to: (1) provide an update on the status of developmental education within Massachusetts community colleges; (2) shed light on the alignment between research-based best practices to advance success among developmental learners and the practices and policies currently in use with Massachusetts community colleges; and (3) provide relevant recommendations, as well as a repository of Massachusetts community colleges' practices and policies that advance the persistence and attainment of underprepared learners. Based upon a current best practice literature review, questionnaires were developed and then completed by individuals in the following roles at each of the 15 colleges: Chief Academic Officer, Developmental Math department chair, Developmental English department chair, Reading department chair, and a maximum of two coordinators for Special Programs serving developmental learners. Follow-up campus interviews were conducted: each included 10-20 individuals with responsibility for supporting underprepared learners at each college. The findings indicated that while college personnel feel deeply committed to developmental education and have in place a broad array of relevant courses and services, most institutions have a fragmented approach to fostering achievement among developmental learners. Programs and services that evidence the greatest impact on student success are, by and large, grant-funded initiatives in which clear outcomes and ongoing assessment guide practitioners in developing and refining strategies that increase student attainment and success. Successful strategies include ongoing mentoring; close coordination between instruction and support labs/tutoring, supplemental instruction, advising, counseling; acceleration options, diagnostic assessment linked to opportunities for students to close specific gaps in learning; and learning communities that integrate instruction, aggressive reinforcement of learning, student success skills, and proactive advisement. Fifteen recommendations are offered. They include: linking commitment, inquiry, intentionality and accountability; connecting students to a coherent and interconnected set of offerings and services that enhance student attainment and development; requiring underprepared students to partake of strategies that are known to advance learning and promote success; and aligning faculty and staff professional development programs and desired outcomes with student development and achievement goals and benchmarks. Areas for further inquiry include: further research into the effective linking of diagnostic assessments with coordinated instructional activities; research into best practice models for bringing to scale practices and policies that effectively promote student success; and discovery of professional development programs that have a demonstrable impact on increased student success. Six appendices are included: (1) Following Up on 100% Math: Additional Mathematics Perspectives; (2) Specific Topics for Further Inquiry Generated from Campus Interviews: A Wish List from Massachusetts Community College Developmental Educators: (3) Massachusetts Community Colleges Developmental Education Policy and Practice Audit Timeline Charmain Sperling, ED.D., Principal Investigator; (4) Instructions for Completion of Institutional Inventories; (5) Institutional Inventories; and (6) Campus Interview Protocol. (Contains 101 footnotes.)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Jobs for the Future; Massachusetts Community Coll., Boston.
Authoring Institution: Massachusetts Community Coll., Boston.
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts