Publications

Brief

Building Basic Math Skills

Boot Camp at Tarrant County College

11/2019

Community colleges continue to increase their efforts to better serve students who enter their institutions with limited basic math, reading, or writing skills. In 2015, MDRC partnered with the Texas Coordinating Higher Education Board on a study to examine how colleges implemented state guidelines for students scoring below ninth-grade proficiency in math, reading, or writing on their course placement exams. This brief presents findings from a study of a “Boot Camp” program at Tarrant County College, which was designed to reinforce basic mathematics functions that prepare students for developmental-level courses. Findings from MDRC’s field visits revealed three special features that made the Boot Camp unique: computer-assisted, self-paced learning; a focus on individual learner progress; and in-class help from college-readiness advisors. The brief also provides reflections of the college’s staff and students who experienced the implementation of the Boot Camp program.