Learning Communities

Working Paper

The Policy and Practice of Assessing and Placing Students in Developmental Education Courses

March, 2010
Stephanie Safran, Mary Visher

This paper reports on case studies conducted at three community colleges to learn about how the colleges assess students for placement in developmental education courses. The case studies identify several problems and challenges, including lack of consensus about the standard for college-level work, the high-stakes nature of the assessments, and the minimal relationship between assessment for placement and diagnosis for instruction.

Report

Early Results from the Opening Doors Demonstration at Kingsborough Community College

June, 2005

Opening Doors Learning Communities, a program serving mostly low-income freshmen at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, NY, improved course and test pass rates, particularly in English.

Report

Early Progress in the Achieving the Dream Initiative

May, 2007
Thomas Brock, Davis Jenkins, Todd Ellwein, Jennifer Miller Gaubert, Susan Gooden, Kasey Martin, Casey MacGregor, Michael Pih

Achieving the Dream is a multiyear, national initiative, launched by Lumina Foundation for Education, to help community college students stay in school and succeed. The 83 participating colleges commit to collecting and analyzing data to improve student outcomes, particularly for low-income students and students of color. This baseline report describes the early progress that the first 27 colleges have made after just one year of implementation.

Report

An Impact Study of Career-Focused Learning Communities at Kingsborough Community College

July, 2011

Students took two courses in their major and one on careers associated with their major. Active, collaborative, and interdisciplinary learning was emphasized. No meaningful impacts on educational outcomes were found for the full sample, but recent transfer students saw a modest positive impact on credits earned during the program semester.

Report

Students Navigating Community College

July, 2006
Alissa Gardenhire, Herbert Collado, Barbara Ray

For this study, MDRC interviewed students at two colleges that are part of the Opening Doors Demonstration, a program to help community college students remain in school and succeed. The students spoke about their experiences on and off campus and the factors that help or hinder their progress in school.

Report

Two-Year Effects of a Freshmen Learning Community Program at Kingsborough Community College

March, 2008
Susan Scrivener, Dan Bloom, Allen J. LeBlanc, Christina Paxson, Cecilia Elena Rouse, Colleen Sommo

Freshmen in a “learning community” at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, NY, moved more quickly through developmental English requirements, took and passed more courses, and earned more credits in their first semester than students in a control group. Two years later, they were also somewhat more likely to be enrolled in college.

National attention is focused on increasing graduation rates at community colleges. Graduation rates are particularly low for students who come to campus underprepared for college-level work. Across the nation, between 60 and 70 percent of entering freshmen in community colleges enroll in developmental (or remedial) math, reading, or writing courses. Data show that...

Community colleges, which tend to be accessible and affordable, serve as a critical resource for low-income individuals striving to improve their prospects in the labor market and life. However, a variety of factors, ranging from a lack of financial aid to inadequate student services and poor developmental classes, can impede students’ progress. Many students stop...

A postsecondary credential has become increasingly important in the labor market, and college attendance has grown. Unfortunately, college completion remains less common, particularly in community colleges, which serve many low-income and academically underprepared students who often need remedial (developmental) courses. Finding ways to increase the rates of...

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