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ERIC Number: EJ949689
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1052-5505
Boosting Underprepared Students: Salish Kootenai College Uses Research to Build Success
Sherwin, Stacey
Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education, v22 n4 Sum 2011
As an open-access institution and a tribal college, Salish Kootenai College (SKC, Pablo, Montana) accepts all students who walk through the doors. Part of SKC's mission is to provide educational opportunities and access for students who are historically underrepresented in higher education. In recent years, national attention has focused on the issue of academically underprepared students. Foundations such as the Lumina Foundation for Education, the Carnegie Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation view the low success rates of students in developmental studies as a major barrier to increasing the number of Americans with high-quality college degrees and certifications. Increasing the success of SKC students who start their college careers in developmental classes has required looking at the data nationwide, as well as at its own tribal college. Colleges commonly administer placement tests in English and math as students enter. Students who test below college level are placed in developmental, or remedial, courses designed to increase their skills. But success for students in developmental studies is often limited: Study after study has found that national success rates for students who start in developmental studies are dismal. Many of those who place into developmental courses never advance to higher levels of college courses. Tribal colleges face the same challenge of how to help underprepared students succeed in college. A retrospective study at SKC has demonstrated that poor course completion rates of students in developmental studies is a major retention issue. As at other American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) institutions, only about half of the students completed the courses. In addition, many of the students who did successfully complete developmental courses never went on to take college-level courses. Grants from the Lumina Foundation for Education and the Walmart Foundation are helping SKC to tackle these problems. After all, if students cannot succeed in improving their basic skills and learning skills for college success, they will not persist to graduation. As part of its strategy, the college is working to eliminate a "one size fits all" approach to developmental education by working with students and faculty and analyzing--and removing--systems-level barriers to student success.
Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education. P.O. Box 720, Mancos, CO 81328. Tel: 888-899-6693; Fax: 970-533-9145; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Montana