Access at the Crossroads Blog
These blog entires identify best practices to increase success for historically-underrepresented college students including excerpts from my book, Access at the Crossroads. Click here to subscribe to this blog.
The following is an excerpt from my book, "Access at the crossroads" described in the left-hand column.
A learning assistance approach that bridges the prerequisite acquisition approach of this section and the concurrent acquisition approach in the next is to place developmental courses in learning communities. To overcome disconnection that sometimes occurs for students in developmental courses with subsequent college-level courses in the academic sequence, some institutions place these courses in learning communities, integrating them with other college-level introductory courses (Malnarich and others, 2003). For example, a reading course might be paired with a reading-intensive course like introduction to psychology or world history. A rigorous study explored the impact of these learning communities. At Kingsborough Community College (part of the City University of New York), students scoring low on admission tests for English were placed in a learning community that included a developmental English course, a course in health or psychology, and a one-credit orientation course. Using a randomized trial that placed students in this learning community or a control group, the students in the experimental group experienced higher outcomes—enrolling in more courses, passing more classes, earning more college credits, and earning higher English test scores needed for a college degree (Scrivener and others, 2008).
The following is an excerpt from my book, "Access at the crossroads" described int he left-hand column.
Several reasons are possible why analysis of developmental courses sometimes yields mixed or negative results. As stated earlier about remedial courses, it is unreasonable to expect that years of inadequate education or ineffective student effort in high school can be overcome by a single developmental course. A second reason may be a basic flaw in research design. Previous national studies (Bailey, 2009; Kulik, Kulik, and Schwalb, 1983; Roueche and Roueche, 1993, 1999) did not add variables to their analyses concerning attributes of the developmental courses and contexts in which they were offered. They did not have the ability to sort out poorly managed, average, or well-managed programs. When student data from all institutions are aggregated, it is not surprising to ﬁnd inconclusive results. A ﬁner level of analysis is needed for this complex issue. The only national study on developmental courses was sponsored through the Exxon Foundation in the late 1980s; it found these courses effective when they observed best practices and poor results for those that did not (Boylan, Bonham, and Bliss, 1994).
The bottom line is that more careful and detailed research is needed to understand developmental courses and the variables that affect their effectiveness. Proponents and opponents of developmental courses call for more research in this area (Bailey, 2009; Boylan, Saxon, Bonham, and Parks, 1993). As the most vexing and controversial element of learning assistance, this issue demands careful and detailed national study. It is one of the recommendations for action listed in the ﬁnal chapter of this report.