The Learning MarketSpace, April 2010
A quarterly electronic newsletter of the National Center for Academic Transformation highlighting ongoing examples of redesigned learning environments using technology and examining issues related to their development and implementation.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Offering perspectives on issues and developments at the nexus of higher education and information
Does A Nursing Student Really Need to Solve Rational Equations?
In a recent study funded by the Gates and Hewlett Foundations, Rhonda Epper and Elaine Baker summarize the spotlight that is now focused on developmental math across the nation. “In the past five years, the critical role of developmental math in the retention and success of community college students has come under additional scrutiny, partially through the attention and resources of national initiatives. This attention has been accompanied by several research efforts in developmental education and a parallel policy focus on the implications of this research for higher education policy. . . . The combination of interest from foundations, public policy groups and researchers who view math as the gatekeeper to college success have yielded a variety of new strategies and programmatic innovations, with a parallel focus on evaluating and assessing the promise of these strategies in terms of replication, scalability and sustainability.”
As readers of this newsletter know, NCAT advocates redesigning the developmental math sequence using the Emporium Model to improve student learning outcomes while reducing instructional cost. Over the past ten years, NCAT redesigns have, on average, increased the percentage of students successfully completing a developmental math course by 51% and reduced the cost of instruction by 30%.
For those institutions that do not want to take on a full redesign project, however, two relatively simple actions could be taken that would dramatically reduce the number of students enrolled in developmental math. (Institutions planning a redesign should also consider these ideas.) These two ideas emerged during NCAT’s collaboration with the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) in its Developmental Studies Redesign Initiative, most specifically from the award-winning redesign project at Jackson State Community College (JSCC).
Since the early 1980’s, the TBR has operated a remedial and developmental math program comprising three courses: Basic Math, Elementary Algebra, and Intermediate Algebra. These three courses are offered at all 13 TBR community colleges, helping to ensure a consistent experience for all TBR students regardless of location.
The TBR program also uses a uniform placement testing system. Students are placed in a remedial or developmental course if their ACT/Compass math subject scores are less than 19 or 29 respectively. Using ACT as an example, if students score 17 or 18, they are placed in Intermediate Algebra; if students score 15 or 16, they are placed in Elementary Algebra; if students score 14 or less, they are placed in Basic Math. Students are required to progress through one, two or three courses on a semester schedule until they exit Intermediate Algebra. Only then can they enroll in college-level math courses or their desired programs of study.
Remediating High School Deficiencies vs. Preparing Students to Succeed in College
As part of the redesign initiative, the TBR asked institutions to reconsider what the goals of remedial/developmental education should be. Specifically, they asked, Are you remediating high school deficiencies in your remedial/developmental courses or preparing students to succeed in college?
JSCC recognized that student goals are different: they may plan to enter a program of study that requires advanced mathematics, to complete a general education mathematics course or to apply for admission to a nursing or allied health program. Consequently, JSCC’s redesign moved away from remediating students’ high school algebra deficiencies to preparing students for their particular educational goals. Students were required to master only the concept deficiencies that were relevant to their educational and career goals.
When JSCC redesigned the three remedial and developmental math courses, they replaced them with 12 clearly defined modules mapped to the competencies originally required in the three courses. Courses were divided as follows: Modules 1, 2 and 3 for Basic Math; Modules 4, 5, 6 and 7 for Elementary Algebra and Modules 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 for Intermediate Algebra.
After defining the competencies to be included in each of the 12 modules, the JSCC math faculty determined which modules were necessary to succeed in each college-level general education math course. All other departments identified which modules were necessary to succeed in their college-level courses as well as their discipline’s core math requirements. Departments with programs not requiring college-level math determined the modules necessary to succeed in those programs. Changes in developmental math prerequisites were approved by the college curriculum committee.
Of the 48 programs of study at JSCC requiring college-level math courses, 35 required only seven modules (47.1% of the students); four required eight modules (31.2% of the students), and seven required all 12 modules (20.3% of the students). One program required only six modules (0.8% of the students), and one required only four modules (0.6% of the students).
Students were advised of their multi-exit opportunities based on their program of study choice and of the need to take more modules if they later changed their majors. This was accomplished via information sheets for each major, focus-group sessions and individual counseling with math instructors and the students’ academic advisors. The team made a campus-wide presentation at an in-service training and conducted sessions for advisor training in order to educate the college faculty and staff.
By changing the requirements for developmental math completion, JSCC should be able to reduce the number of sections/modules they need to offer by 31%. As an example, during the 2008-09 academic year, 1836 students were enrolled in developmental math courses. JSCC offered the equivalent of 15,241 modules to serve these students under the new policy. Assuming similar placement distributions, JSCC would have had to offer 22,032 modules under the old policy.
ACT studies show that 80 to 90% of students need an assortment of skills from Basic Math, Elementary Algebra, Geometry and Statistics to succeed in college-level math courses, and they do not need as much Algebra as the traditional remediation approach provides.
Are you looking backward or forward? Are you remediating high school algebra deficiencies in your remedial/developmental courses or preparing students to succeed in college? Are you preparing all students to succeed in STEM majors, even though most will not major in a STEM field?
Including College-Level Content in Remedial/Developmental Courses
After the first full year of implementation of their redesign JSCC mapped the competencies within their 12 modules to ACT’s College Readiness Standards by score range. ACT defines “readiness” for college-level math at a score of 22 and above. JSCC discovered that Modules 1 – 3 (Basic Math) mapped appropriately to the score range 16 – 19. They also discovered that 11 of the 20 competencies included in Modules 4 – 7 (Elementary Algebra) mapped appropriately to the score range 16 – 23 but that 9 of the competencies mapped to the score range 24 – 32 (i.e., were college-level competencies rather than developmental, according to ACT.) They also discovered that all but one of the 22 competencies included in Modules 8 – 12 (Intermediate Algebra) mapped to the score range 24 – 32 (i.e., were college-level competencies rather than developmental, according to ACT.)
This means that students in developmental math (e.g., with an ACT score of 17 or 18) are, in essence, being held to a higher standard than students who are not in developmental math (e.g., with an ACT score of 19 or 20). This insight is leading JSCC and other TBR institutions to reconsider what is developmental vs. college-level course content.
Have you examined whether or not you are teaching college-level math in your remedial/developmental courses and, if so, how much? Are you unnecessarily prolonging the student experience in developmental math by doing so?
In a May 2009 Chronicle of Higher Education commentary, Education Sector’s Kevin Carey aptly characterized the state of remedial/developmental education in the U.S. as follows: “Remediation is the no man's land of American education. Every year we send hundreds of thousands of young men and women over the top, across a rocky landscape strewn with pedagogical barbed wire and the remains of those who tried and failed before them. We know, without a doubt, that many of those eager and unsuspecting students won't make it. Yet we send them anyway, because there's always another fresh class of recruits to enroll. The cost to the nation in lost time and resources is astounding. The lofty goal of increasing the ranks of college graduates, voiced by President Obama and others, will not be met if we can't find a better way.”By taking either or both of the actions described above to restructure the content of remedial/developmental math courses, we could significantly reduce the number of students we send over the top. Then we could concentrate on ensuring that those who remain will be prepared to meet their educational and professional goals.
--Carol A. Twigg
Featuring updates and announcements from the Center.
John Squires, an NCAT Math Redesign Scholar and chair of the math department at Chattanooga State Community College, was chosen as the 2009-2010 Cross Papers Fellow. Each year, the League for Innovation in the Community College, supported by the K. Patricia Cross Endowment, names a scholar/practitioner of community college teaching and learning as The Cross Papers Fellow. The Cross Papers Fellow authors a monograph which includes a review of literature on current teaching and learning theory as well as practical applications of current theory in contemporary learning environments. Entitled “Changing the Educational Landscape: The Total Impact of Course Redesign,” John’s paper focuses on the principles of course redesign and the successes institutions have experienced across many academic disciplines. The paper includes a discussion of the six models of course redesign with examples of the cross-cutting approaches that have led to increased learning and reduced costs. The Cross Papers Fellow also conducts a Special Session at the League’s annual Innovations conference. John presented his paper at the 2010 conference in Baltimore, MD on March 28, 2010. The paper will soon be available at the League Store at http://www.league.org/store/catalog.htm.
On January 25, 2010, Carolyn Jarmon, NCAT’s Senior Associate, spoke at the winter meeting of Washington State’s Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges (TACTC) in Olympia, WA. TACTC is comprised of all the trustees of the 30 two-year college districts in Washington and provides support and coordination for trustees in the areas of education, communication and advocacy. Carolyn shared the course redesign successes of community colleges with more than 100 trustees from across the state. Her
NCAT’s newest program, Changing the Equation, is supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is focused on redesigning the developmental math sequence at the nation’s community colleges. On March 22, 2010, Carol Twigg, along with Linda Thor, President of Foothills-DeAnza Community College in California and Sanford Shugart, President of Valencia Community College in Florida, met with Bill Gates to discuss the important role community colleges play in US higher education and the ways in which the experiences of community college students can be improved. Senior staff at the Gates Foundation have organized a series of similar briefings to increase the foundation’s co-chairs’ understanding of the challenges faced by our diverse system of higher education and the role the foundation plays in addressing them.
Preparing new professionals to assume senior policy positions is one of the goals of the Associates Program at the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. On February 20, 2010, Carol Twigg spoke to the Associates in Santa Fe, NM, and discussed the policy implications of course redesign as a strategy to increase student success at a reduced cost. The Associates include early- to mid-career professionals from academia, government and other nonprofit organizations dealing directly with higher education public policy. The National Center promotes public policies that enhance Americans' opportunities to pursue and achieve high-quality education and training beyond high school. As an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, the National Center prepares action-oriented analyses of pressing policy issues facing the states and the nation regarding opportunity and achievement in higher education including two-and four-year, public and private, for-profit and nonprofit institutions. To learn more about the National Center, see http://www.highereducation.org/.
Texas Governor Rick Perry recently issued RP73, an Executive Order calling for a comprehensive review of system-wide opportunities for achieving cost efficiencies. As a result, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) has established the Texas Advisory Committee on Higher Education Cost Efficiencies, half of whom are business leaders and half of whom are from Texas higher education institutions. As part of the information gathering process, the committee invited NCAT to share the principles and outcomes of course redesign with the Advisory Committee on March 9, 2010, in Austin, TX. Carolyn Jarmon, along with Bill Massey, Stanford University professor emeritus, and Jorge Klor de Alva from the University of Phoenix, provided an overview of how it is possible to increase learning while reducing instructional costs. The Coordinating Board will send its final recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature by November 1, 2010. To learn more, see http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/index.cfm?objectid=9D5D0338-CBDC-1566-E13ECA452AAAC3DE.
As noted in the October 2009 issue of The Learning MarketSpace, we intend to provide a series of updates
Engaging the nation’s community colleges in a successful redesign of their developmental math sequences.
On February 5, 2010, six Math Redesign Scholars met in Nashville, TN to review the Application Guidelines
An orientation for those institutions seeking to apply to Changing the Equation, NCAT’s new program to engage the nation’s community colleges in a successful redesign of their remedial/developmental math sequences, was held at the Redesign Alliance Fourth Annual Conference in Orlando, FL. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Changing the Equation will award grants of $40,000 to each selected community college. To submit an application to the program, institutions were required to send at least two people to the conference: one administrator and one math faculty member. Representing 38 states, 125 teams attended the opening Orientation Session on Sunday, March 28, 2010. Many institutions sent teams of four or more. During this session, participants learned more about program requirements, how to get the most out of the conference and what next steps they should take in their planning. Special tracks on developmental math were established throughout the conference, and a de-briefing session provided time for participants to ask additional questions of NCAT staff and six Math Scholars. To learn more about this program, see http://www.theNCAT.org/Mathematics/CTE/CTE.htm.
On April 15, 2010, community college teams representing 36 states interested in participating in NCAT’s Changing the Equation program submitted responses to six Readiness Criteria. The Readiness Criteria allow institutions to demonstrate their readiness to plan and implement a large-scale redesign of their developmental math course sequences as well as to identify those areas needing attention to ensure a successful redesign project. This is the first step in the application process. The following 53 institutions were selected as semi-finalists and invited to move forward in the competition: Anne Arundel Community College, Baltimore City Community College, Bowling Green Technical College, Cecil College, Central Florida Community College, Clatsop Community College, Cochise College, Community College of Vermont, Cossatot Community College, Cumberland County College, Dakota College at Bottineau, Delgado Community College, Genesee Community College, Guilford Technical Community College, Hazard Community and Technical College, Heartland Community College, Henderson Community College, Iowa Western Community College, Jefferson Community and Technical College, Joliet Junior College, Kirkwood Community College, Laramie County Community College, Leeward Community College, Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, Madisonville Community College, Manchester Community College, Mercer County Community College, Mesabi Range Community and Technical College, Miami Dade College, Middlesex Community College, Middlesex County College, Mid-State Technical College, Moberly Area Community College, Mohawk Valley Community College, Mountwest Community and Technical College, Nashville State Community College, Normandale Community College, Northern Virginia Community College, Northwest State Community College, Northwest-Shoals Community College, Oakton Community College, Pearl River Community College, Pulaski Technical College, Reading Area Community College, Robeson Community College, Somerset Community College, Stark State College of Technology, Three Rivers Community College, Volunteer State Community College, Washington State Community College, West Kentucky Community and Technical College, West Virginia University at Parkersburg and Wright College.
The next step in the process will be for these institutions to send redesign teams to a Planning Workshop
Featuring initiatives to scale course redesign through state- and system-wide redesign programs.
Spring is the time to report the outcomes achieved in the full implementations of the redesigns that are
The course redesign teams in the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) Course Redesign
The final workshop for the State University of New York Course Redesign Initiative was held on April 30, 2010 in Syracuse, NY. Project teams reported the results of the full implementation of their redesigns conducted during fall 2009. Participating institutions and the course or courses they have redesigned are: Buffalo State College: The Economic System; SUNY Canton: Introduction to Biology; SUNY Fredonia: First-Year Spanish; Niagara County Community College: Introduction to Statistics; SUNY College at Old Westbury: College Algebra; SUNY at Oswego: College Algebra; and SUNY at Potsdam: European and US History. Detailed final reports for each project will be posted later this summer on the NCAT web site. To learn more about this initiative, contact Sharon Gallagher at Sharon.Gallagher@suny.edu or see http://www.thencat.org/States/SUNY.htm.
Featuring progress reports and outcomes achieved by the C2R program.
The third and final round of the Colleagues Committed to Redesign program (C2R) has concluded. Supported by the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE), C2R required Round III teams to plan a full implementation of their redesign and conduct a pilot of their redesign during fall 2009. Teams reported on the outcomes achieved at the Fourth Annual Redesign Alliance Conference in March 2010. The results are extremely promising. All teams intend to move or have already moved to full implementation. Pilot outcomes for C2R Round III are summarized below.
The redesign of Technology Fluency, a required course at Coppin State University for all undergraduates
Edison State College had a very successful pilot of its College Reading redesign using the Replacement
Morehead State University (MSU) redesigned College Algebra, which enrolls ~600 students annually. The
The redesign of Essentials of Writing at Regis University is continuing with a second pilot in spring 2010. Because of the complexity of the design, the team is still working out some of the implementation issues.
Using the Emporium Model, Santa Fe College redesigned Intermediate Algebra, their largest math course,
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) redesigned Principles of Biology, enrolling ~550
University of North Carolina Charlotte redesigned an entry-level, four-credit Spanish course enrolling ~800 students in 28 sections. The first of a two-semester sequence, the traditional course lacked consistency among sections and used a lot of very limited classroom space. Using the Replacement Model, the redesigned course replaced one of two classroom sessions with online assignments. Classroom time focused on proficiency-oriented communicative learning activities such as role plays, dialogs and writing assignments using Spanish. Students practiced every skill area of language proficiency. There was no difference between student performance on a common final exam for the students in the traditional sections compared with students in the redesign. Cost savings were partially achieved: some sections were doubled from 30 to 60 students, and the number of sections was reduced. Because of room shortages, not all sections could be increased. The team is certain that the cost reduction strategy will work once appropriate space has been found. UNC Charlotte intends to roll out the full implementation of the redesign in fall 2010. To learn more, contact Garvey Pyke at J.G.Pyke@uncc.edu.
To learn more about the C2R program, which has now concluded, see http://www.theNCAT.org/RedesignAlliance/DissemProgram.htm.
Featuring updates from the Alliance, a member organization of institutions, organizations and companies committed to and experienced with large-scale course redesign.
It was a busy three days! On March 28-30, 2010, more than 750 faculty members, academic administrators, technology experts and corporate participants gathered in Orlando, FL, to advance their knowledge of course redesign.
Conference participants came from 45 states as well as from Bermuda, Canada, and Sweden. Twenty-four institutions sent teams of five or more, and 28 additional institutions sent teams of four. Not surprisingly, Florida had the largest representation with 92 attendees, followed by Tennessee with 47, Kentucky with 46 and Ohio with 43.
Sunday’s orientation session for those new to course redesign attracted about 500 people. Here attendees received an overview of the principles and results of course redesign and learned how best to take advantage of the conference program. An opening reception on Sunday evening gave participants the opportunity to meet and greet other Redesign Alliance members and begin the valuable networking experiences the conference offers. Participants were able to take advantage of the corporate exhibits available in the Exhibit Hall and to visit the corporate hospitality suites directly following the reception for more substantive and detailed conversations and demonstrations.
The conference began on Monday morning with a keynote address by Kay McClenney, director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin, entitled “ Building and Sustaining Critical Connections.” Using data from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement, McClenney provided guidance on how institutions can use data generated by CCSSE, other assessment surveys and student focus groups to build and sustain the critical connections among students, faculty and staff that matter most in helping them succeed.
Following the opening plenary, attendees participated in one of six disciplinary showcase sessions in the academic areas of developmental and college-level math, science and engineering, reading and social science. Attendees were able to learn from those who have completed a full course redesign and discuss specific issues and challenges related to their particular academic areas. Monday afternoon provided additional opportunities for discussion within the disciplinary clusters. Led by NCAT’s Redesign Scholars and other experienced redesign leaders, the sessions allowed participants to further investigate the process of redesign and learn from a number of project leaders who are in the midst of a redesign implementation, dealing with a range of issues. A well-attend special session for academic administrators was also held. A new session, Sector Roundtables, concluded the formal program on Monday, where participants had time for in-depth discussion of the course redesign issues and challenges that are particular to different kinds of institutions. After the afternoon sector discussions, 20 poster sessions were held adjacent to a second reception, allowing participants to eat, drink and learn at the same time. These poster sessions provided a venue for exploration of more focused topics related to redesign and to feature those who have done significant work in these areas.
Tuesday morning began with the first annual Leadership in Innovation keynote address, established to
Throughout the conference, corporate members of the Alliance sponsored hospitality suites where attendees could learn about various products and services that can be used in course redesign. These suites were overrun by participants, indicating a high level of interest. Corporate participants included Blackboard, Carnegie Learning, Cengage Learning, Hawkes Learning Systems, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Pearson Education and SMARTHINKING.
It is clear that more institutions in more academic fields are engaged in the process of course redesign.
Slides from the 2010 Redesign Alliance Conference presentations are available on the NCAT web site at http://www.theNCAT.org/RedesignAlliance/Agenda10.htm linked to each presenter on the agenda. (Click on the name of the presenter.) To learn more about the speakers’ redesign projects, click on the speaker’s institution name listed on the agenda. The institution’s name is linked to an abstract of the presenter’s redesign project, which includes contact information so that it is possible to have additional conversations.
NCAT welcomes eight new institutional and corporate members of the Redesign Alliance, all of which seek
Linking content and software providers with leading edge institutions.
Building on several highly successful prior workshops, Pearson Education will hold its annual course redesign workshop on September 24 - 25, 2010, at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, CA. Participants will learn how to get started on course redesign from NCAT’s Carolyn Jarmon and from large- and small-group interaction with experienced educators in accounting, biology, chemistry, developmental reading and writing, economics, English composition, math and world languages. The workshop will highlight successful course redesigns that take advantage of technology to improve student learning and efficiency in large-enrollment, introductory courses. Participants will learn how to implement course redesign principles in both quantitative and qualitative disciplines. Faculty will also have the opportunity to learn more about Pearson's leading technology products, including MyWritingLab, MyMathLab and MasteringScience, which have all been selected as 2010 Codie Award finalists. To register, go to http://www.pearsoncourseredesign.com/events.html or contact Karen Mullane at Karen.Mullane@pearson.com.
If you need an access code to view a sample gallery of how institutions have used MyMathLab in redesign, visit email@example.com to obtain a login and password for these sample courses.
McGraw-Hill held a by-invitation workshop on using ALEKS in course redesign at the Redesign Alliance Fourth Annual Conference in Orlando, FL. Many participants expressed interest in gaining more information about the institutions who shared their successes using a McGraw-Hill + ALEKS solution. To learn more about these redesigns, please visit www.successinmath.com. The McGraw-Hill Math Team will host another workshop "Course Redesign with McGraw-Hill + ALEKS” on November 10, 2010 at the upcoming 35th Annual AMATYC Conference in Boston , MA . The focus of the event will be on thinking through a mathematics redesign and integrating effective, tested commercial software. It will include a presentation by NCAT’s Carolyn Jarmon. To register for this workshop, please go to http://www.formdesk.com/marketdev/McGrawHillALEKS_NCAT. To learn more, contact Torie Anderson at Victoria_anderson@mcgraw-hill.com.
Reporting on initiatives that share the Center's goals and objectives.
Established in 2009, Complete College America Alliance of States is a national non-profit organization working to significantly increase the number of Americans with a college degree or credential of value and to close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations. The organization was founded to focus solely on dramatically increasing the nation’s college completion rate through state policy change, and to build consensus for change among state leaders, higher education, and the national education policy community. According to the US Department of Education, 60% of white students who attend four-year colleges full-time complete their bachelor’s degree within six years compared to 49% of Hispanic students and 42% of African-American students. In addition, only 38% of people aged 25-34 have an associate’s degree or higher. Projections indicate that in 10 years, 60% of all new jobs will require a college degree. Thus far, 21 states have committed to “set degree goals at state and campus levels, establish common measures of progress and publicly report results annually, and develop and implement action plans to graduate more students.” To learn more, see http://www.completecollege.org/.
Earlier this year, the Education Trust published two new reports showing progress in minority student graduation rates. “Top Gainers: Some Public Four-Year Colleges and Universities Make Big Improvements in Minority Graduation Rates,” by Jennifer Engle and Christina Theokas, highlights the efforts of public colleges and universities that have boosted graduation rates for minority students—sometimes even closing the gaps between minority students and their peers. The data presented provide a baseline for colleges seeking to raise minority graduation rates and show that improvements are taking place in a range of settings. The focus is on the top gainers among public colleges and universities in graduating underrepresented minority students—African-American, Hispanic, and Native-American students. A second report by the same authors is “Top Gap Closers: Some Public Four-Year Colleges and Universities Have Made Good Progress in Closing Graduation-Rate Gaps.” This report identifies public colleges and universities that have narrowed if not closed the gaps between underrepresented minority students—African American, Hispanic, and Native American—and their white and Asian peers. The Education Trust is a national organization dedicated to the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, pre-kindergarten through college. Acknowledged as a true authority in the world of education reform, Ed Trust advances its mission along several fronts, from raising its voice in national and state policy debates to helping teachers improve instruction in their classrooms. To read Top Gainers, see http://www.edtrust.org/sites/edtrust.org/files/publications/files/CRO%20Brief%20Top%20Gainers.pdf.
The National Center for Academic Transformation serves as a source of expertise and support for those in
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