ERIC Number: ED506649
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun-30
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
The Massachusetts Community Colleges Developmental Education Best Policy and Practice Audit: Final Report
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.)
Descriptors: Special Programs, Community Colleges, Academic Achievement, Program Effectiveness, Student Development, Educational Opportunities, Professional Development, Grants, Supplementary Education, Best Practices, Educational Policy, Developmental Studies Programs, Surveys, Interviews, College Preparation, Two Year College Students, Achievement Gap, Mentors, Student Evaluation, Goal Orientation, College Faculty, Administrators, College Administration
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Sponsor: Jobs for the Future; Massachusetts Community Coll., Boston.
Authoring Institution: Massachusetts Community Coll., Boston.
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts