An Integrated Approach to

Ensuring Student Access & Success

at Columbia College

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report to College Council

 

 

April 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Task Force Members: Casey Bonavia, Garth Brooks, Meryl Brooks, Anne Cavagnaro, Dave Chesnut, Melissa Colon, Cheryl Divine-Jonas, Patricia Harrelson, Brian Jensen, and Karin Rodts.


 

Introduction

 

The Master Plan for Higher Education requires that California Community Colleges provide access to all of the state’s high school graduates and anyone over the age of eighteen who can benefit from instruction. The Columbia College Mission Statement reinforces this purpose by declaring that the “College provides educational programs and support services to assist students and the broader community in gaining access to higher education and achieving success in their chosen endeavors.” Ensuring the promise of access and success to students is proving difficult.

 

An increasing number of students who enroll in community colleges are inadequately prepared for college work. The latest Department of Education data reports that nationwide 28% of entering freshmen in 2000 took at least one remedial reading, writing or math course. At community colleges, 42% enrolled in a remedial course. According to the results of a 2001 survey of basic skills practices in California Community colleges conducted by the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, many colleges report that more than half of their entering students place at least one level below college readiness. In a sample of students who took the College Placement Test (CPT) at Columbia College from Fall 2002 to Fall 2005, sixty percent placed one or more levels below college level reading and writing courses.  Clearly students enrolling in the College need instruction and support to have a realistic chance of succeeding in academic and vocational programs, transferring to four-year institutions, or moving into positions in the work force.

           

A task force of Columbia College staff considered the issue of meeting the needs of under-prepared students. Our tasks were to:

·         Review external and internal documents that address student access and success.

·         Summarize pertinent findings in the review of documents and describe the relationship of these findings to the situation at Columbia College.

·         List the perceived problems and propose recommendations for an integrated approach to ensuring student access and success at Columbia College.

 

 

SOURCES

 

The following documents were reviewed by members of the task force:

 

External:

1)      California Community Colleges Academic Senate Report: “The State of Basic Skills in California Community Colleges” 2000.

2)      California Community Colleges Board of Governor’s Report: “Effective Practices in Basic Skills” November 2002.

3)      California Community Colleges Board of Governor’s Report: “Basic Skills: Research Update and Next Steps” January 2003.

4)      California Community Colleges Academic Senate Report: Issues in Basic Skills Assessment and Placement in California Community Colleges” 2003.

5)      California Community Colleges Academic Senate Report: “A Survey of Effective Practices for Basic Skills” Spring 2003.

6)      “Basic Skills Students: Do We Really Want Them to Succeed?” Senate Rostrum, November 2005.

 

Internal

1)      Annual Reports and data collection from Learning Skills Center/Academic Resources Center 1991-2001

2)      Special Populations Proposal-1995

3)      Columbia College Student Success Plan, 2001

4)      College-wide In-service meetings on Transformational Learning 2002-2003

5)      Academic Achievement Center Vision Team, 2002

6)      Learning Support Center Proposal, George Railey 2003

7)      Columbia College Mission Statement, Revised April 2005

8)      Columbia College Accreditation Self-Study, Fall 2005

9)      Columbia College Matriculation Plan 2005

10)   Strategic Conversation, 12-2-05

11)   Reports from staff and advisory committees for DSP&S, EOPS, CalWorks

12)   Academic Senate Minutes and Resolutions

13)   SLO/Transformational Learning Committee minutes and reports.

14)   Columbia College Catalog 2005-2006.

 

 

SUMMARY OF PERTINENT FINDINGS

 

An Integrated Approach

 

An integrated approach assumes an institutional commitment to student access and success. The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges recommends a “global approach to the instruction of basic skills . . . so that faculty from all areas participate in an across-the-curriculum approach.” They also affirm that a global approach involves student services as well as instructional faculty. Los Medanos Community College, a model program described in the “The State of Basic Skills Instruction in California Community College,” indicates that their approach is based on the belief that everyone in the college is involved in the developmental growth of each student.

 

Internal evidence suggests that Columbia College is committed to ensuring student access and success. The College Mission Statement calls for active promotion of “transformational learning through critical and creative thinking that is open to change and personal growth.” During 2002-2003, the College In-service programs were dedicated to exploring the nature of transformational learning in adult students. In December 2005, the College held a Strategic Conversation that was well-attended by staff from all areas of the college. Participants in the Conversation identified diverse means by which the college could improve the quality of access and success for students. The energetic participation of staff in these activities is an indication of a college-wide commitment to effective learning.

 

In the past six years, the College has developed several documents that delineate specific goals and objectives for ensuring student access and success. The Special Populations Proposal-1995 describes goals for outreach, services, and instruction to better meet the needs of Native Americans and second language speakers in the community. The Student Success Plan-1999-2001 describes specific activities to “Improve Academic and Learning Support Services.” In 2003, a Learning Support Center Proposal was developed through a coordinated effort involving college staff including math, English and biology faculty, the Academic Achievement Center Coordinator, DSP&S personnel, and the Deans of Arts and Sciences and Vocational Education. The Proposal lists specific goals for developing a comprehensive Learning Support Center to meet the needs of Columbia College’s diverse student population. The College Matriculation Plan, updated in December of 2005, likewise describes specific objectives related to “assisting with the academic development of the student.”  

 

While some of the objectives and activities in these plans have been accomplished, others have yet to be realized. It seems that the College has a fairly clear idea of what is needed for an integrated approach but has yet to find the means to accomplish well-conceived goals and objectives.

 

Access & Success

 

In the broadest sense, students have access to college courses when they have or are able to acquire any set of sub-skills that are recognized as part of a higher order set of skills. This perspective underlies the global, across-the-curriculum approach to skill building recommended by the State Academic Senate and adopted by Los Medanos College as the basis for their successful approach of involving the entire college in the developmental growth of each student.  Columbia College’s commitment to transformational learning encompasses this broad approach to access.

 

matriculation plan

 

The College Matriculation Plan describes specific support services to improve access and success. The state-mandated categories addressed in this plan included:

·         Admission

·         Orientation

·         Assessment

·         Counseling & Advisement

·         Student Follow-up

·         Research & Evaluation

 

Several objectives in the Columbia Matriculation Plan are important to mention. The first is the intention to provide modified and/or alternative services to ethnically diverse, language minority, and disabled students. Issues and goals related to these services are discussed in other sections of this report. A second important objective is the effort directed at ensuring that students participate in counseling and advisement and enroll in recommended pre-collegiate basic skills courses. Though counselors regularly advise students about the importance of acquiring pre-requisite skills by enrolling in recommended courses, students often ignore these recommendations.

 

The follow-up component of the Matriculation Plan at Columbia is partially addressed by the Early Alert system. At one time, this activity was effective in providing intervention for at-risk students. However, the conversion to Datatel has hampered the effectiveness of this practice. The ability to monitor students on academic probation and dismissal has likewise been hampered by the change to the new data system. Programs for special populations, such as DSP&S, EOPS and CalWorks, have implemented reporting methods to monitor students’ progress in classes, but there is not a consistent, effective means of Student Follow-up. Research and Evaluation has likewise been affected by the change to Datatel and by the lack of a full-time Researcher at Columbia.

 

 

 

basic skills

 

The Assessment component of the Matriculation Plan is fully implemented at Columbia College. and a significant number of students are assessed as inadequately prepared for college-level work. These students need basic skill development as a condition of access. Title 5 defines basic skills as pre-collegiate courses in “reading, writing, computation, and English as a Second Language [ESL] which are designated by the local district as non-degree credit courses” (55502-d) Basic skills courses can also be offered in a non-credit mode in several areas: GED preparation, ESL, literacy, and occupational/vocation basic skills.  The following table describes the courses listed in the Columbia College catalog 2005-2006 which meet Title 5 criteria for basic skills:

 

Basic Skills Courses -Columbia College Catalog-2005-2006

 

Regularly Offered

(offered at least once a year)

Not Recently Offered

(not offered in the last 3 years )

 

Credit

ENG 249- Writing Skills Workshop

ENG 250- English Fundamentals

ENG 151-Preparation for College

                    Composition

MATH 201-Math Concepts: An

                 Interactive Approach

MATH 202- Interactive Algebra

                  Preparation

MATH 250-Individualized Computer

                Based Math (ALEKS)

SKLDV 210- Introduction to

                 Computer Access

INDIS 270- Introduction to Library &

               Informational Resources

INDIS 278- Basic Skills for

               Occupational Success

 

 

MATH 210-Techniques for Small

                    Group Instruction in

                    Mathematics

OFTEC 210- Typing Speed and

                  Accuracy Building

OFTEC 215-Word Processing for

                   Personal Use

OFTEC 216-Inter/Adv Word

                 Processing for Personal Use

SKLDV 250-Sentence Writing

                    Strategy

SKLDV 251- Diagnostic Learning

SKLDV 270- Basic English Skills

SKLDV 275- College Spelling and

                  Proofreading

SKLDV 277-Basic Reading

                   Development

SKLDV 278- Reading Development I

SKLDV 279- Preparation for College

                       Reading

SKLDV 280- Reading Strategies

SKLDV 287- Vocabulary

                  Development

SKLDV 290- Study Skills

SKLDV 296- Applied Test-Taking

                Skills

ENG 206- English as a Second Language

                Advanced

 

Non-Credit

ENG 305-English as Second

                 Language

SKLDV 300- GED Preparation

SKLDV 392-Applied Skills

SKLDV 410- College Skills

                    Enhancement

SKLDV 420- College Computer Skills

                      Development

 

 

 

A significant number of the basic skills courses listed in the Columbia College catalog are not regularly offered. The inability to maintain a viable Basic Skills Program is not unique to Columbia College. The challenges of teaching basic skills courses are outlined in “The State of Basic Skills Instruction in California Community Colleges” as follows:

·         Enrollment-driven funding situations result in an inability to offer small classes;

·         Insufficient funding becomes a barrier to offering quality instruction to basic skills students, especially in hiring appropriately trained, full-time Basic Skills instructors and providing adequate technology to support course offerings;

·         Enforcing pre-requisites is idiosyncratic and inconsistent;

·         Insufficient research results in a lack of content validity in establishing basic skills courses as pre-requisites to more advanced courses. When basic skills courses are not pre-requisites, students do not take the recommended courses despite assessment test results;

·         Inadequate program coordination of the basic skills curriculum and instructors prohibits a comprehensive, integrated approach.

 

These points are consistent with the difficulties Columbia College has faced in maintaining a Basic Skills Program.

 

In addition to the assessment data that indicates that many students require basic skills instruction, other sources indicate the need for such classes. Advisory committees for CalWorks and DSP&S, have consistently indicated a need for increased basic skills course offerings. Vocational Education faculty regularly seek a means to offer basic skills instruction for their students. The Special Populations Proposal-1995 indicates that a Basic Skills Program is critical for the transition of ESL and Native American students into college-level courses.

 

accessibility for the disabled

 

Accessibility is the particular concern of Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSP&S). The program provides accessibility through support services, special equipment, specially trained staff, and removal of architectural barriers. While DSP&S conscientiously serves disabled students, the annual DSP&S allocation for Columbia College has been effected by the following circumstances:

 

·         The annual allocation for DSP&S is based in part on weighted student counts according to disability specific categories. The weighting is determined by relative cost for services with the Learning Disability (LD) category weighing more than “Other Disability” category. Students can only be placed in the LD category if they have been assessed by the California Community College Learning Disabilities Eligibility Model.

·         Only a qualified LD Specialist can administer the extensive testing necessary to determine eligibility, a service which requires as much as seven hours per student.

·         Columbia College does not currently have a full-time LD Specialist to provide the service needed to move students from “Other Disability” to the appropriate and more heavily weighted category of LD.

 

Reduced funding for DSP&S has imposed limitations on the staff available and the services provided which in turn affects access and success for disabled students. In January 2006, two different Focus Groups, comprised of students and staff, were convened to discuss services and accessibility at Columbia College. While DSP&S was generally commended, specific problems were cited, notably insufficient tutoring and limited staff. Faculty also report confusion and frustration about managing LD students in their classes. A recent Academic Senate Resolution affirmed the need for a full-time LD specialist to assist these students and faculty in meeting special needs.

 

student success plan

 

The California Community College Chancellor’s Office has delineated specific indicators of student success, including student transfer rates, degree and certificate awards, and course completions, particularly vocational and basic skills course completion. The Columbia College Student Success Plan 1999-2000 identifies ambitious and comprehensive strategies to address and measure the prescribed indicators of success. According to the Plan, achieving meaningful student success requires identifying successful strategies and working to implement the strategies across the entire College community. To this end they have organized activities under the following themes:

·         Improve student support services;

·         Improve academic and learning support services;

·         Undertake program and curriculum review to reconfigure, add and delete courses and programs as necessary;

·         Increase outreach to the business community, local agencies, and local governments;

·         Increase articulation to high schools and four-year colleges;

·         Increase outreach and services in response to the needs of non-traditional and re-entry student populations;

·         Increase student development and student life opportunities;

·         Increase faculty and staff skills development and communication to create a more supportive environment for student success;

·         Research to identify progress toward meeting the goals of the Student Success Plan.

 

Student success has to do with students attaining the educational, career, or personal goals which prompted them to enroll in college. However, students’ goals can be poorly defined or change considerably over the course of their time in college. The Student Success Plan describes a multifaceted approach to helping students design and achieve reasonable educational plans.

 

Unfortunately, the funding that was meant to support these activities was not forthcoming which interfered with full implementation of the Plan. Nevertheless, the Plan provided direction and many of the activities proceeded despite limited funding. Without a college Researcher, it is difficult to accurately assess how well the college progressed toward meeting the goals, but it is apparent that progress was uneven.  In particular, there has been limited progress toward implementing the activities designed to improve academic and learning support services and increase student development and student life opportunities.

 

student learning outcomes

 

In newly defined standards, the Accrediting Commission for Community Colleges and Junior Colleges Western Association of Schools and Colleges require that colleges regularly gather and report concrete evidence about what students know and can do as result of the participation in a college course, program, or service. This evidence, referred to as Student Learning Outcomes (SLO), can be regarded as measures of student success. In fact, the SLO/Transformational Learning Committee at Columbia College has connected their work to access and success in a Statement of Purpose.

 

As a result of recommendations following the recent Accreditation Team visit, the committee is taking an aggressive approach to establishing SLOs, including specific timelines and responsibilities, documentation, and assessments.  The Committee has drafted College-wide SLOs to help guide the development of course, program, and service SLOs.  The work on SLOs is relevant to promoting and measuring student success.

 

 

EFFECTIVE PRACTICES

 

In Spring 2003, the California Community Colleges Academic Senate published a document entitled “A Survey of Effective Practices for Basic Skills.”  The following table summarizes effective practices and relates this to current practices at Columbia College.

 

 

Effective Practices

AT COLUMBIA

Centralized vs.Decentralized

Centralized programs, such as developmental education programs, correlate with greater success than decentralized programs. However decentralized programs can be equally successful with high levels of coordination and communication.

Columbia has a decentralized basic skills programs with limited coordination and communication.

Learning Communities

Research overwhelmingly supports the effectiveness of learning communities, which feature a cohort of students and two or more courses in which faculty collaborate in making curricular connections and focus on active learning and collaboration.

Columbia College has no formal Learning Communities. However spontaneous informal communities are not unusual, particularly in science and math and some of the vocational programs. One pair of instructors team teaches specific courses and make curricular connections. Many instructors individually employ active and collaborative learning strategies in their classes.

Integrated Reading and Writing Programs

Courses in which reading and writing are taught as complex, interactive processes instead of as an accumulation of discrete skills.

The English department recently revised the English 151 curriculum to include reading as part of a course that was predominantly a composition course. The college has curriculum for instruction in Reading but these courses have not been offered for more than six years. The college does not have a formal Writing-Reading Across the Curriculum program.

Assessment & Placement

Mandatory assessment and placement are key components of successful programs. Mandatory placement is only effective in courses found to have satisfactory instructional methods, techniques, and success rates.

The college has mandatory assessment and recommended placement in English and Math courses. However, students who are not on degree or transfer track, often choose to not take these courses or other recommended basic skills courses

Tutoring

Tutoring by well-trained tutors certified by the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) is what identifies successful programs.

The college has a peer tutoring-training program that is CRLA certified. The AAC is open four days a week and offers peer tutoring for many of the college courses.

Supplemental Instruction

Supplemental Instructions (SI) targets “high-risk” courses, those that typically have high failure rates. Research indicates that students who participate in SI consistently show significantly lower rates of failing grades and higher average course grades than those who do not participate.

The college has offered SI for high risk courses (most notably Anatomy, Physiology, and Business Math) for 15 years. Statistics for SI consistently show lower rates of failing grades and higher course grades for students who participate than those who do not.

Classroom Assessment Techniques

Classroom Assessment techniques employ formative evaluation in the classroom for the purpose of improving teaching and learning. These techniques have been cited as one of the most successful higher education innovations in the decade of the 1990s.

The College has offered training in Classroom Assessment Techniques has, including a three-day extended training attended by 25 instructors in 1995 and training for VocEd faculty in 2004. There is, however, no data on instructor use of this technique.

Learning Laboratories

The integration of classroom and laboratories appears to be an essential component in a successful developmental program. Such programs require collaboration between lab coordinators and faculty in course design and are most effective when labs are located near the instructional areas.

The Math lab is located adjacent to the math instructional areas and the coordinator works closely with faculty in that area. The Math Lab is open 7 hours a day/ 5 days a week. The Writing Lab is not adjacent to the English course instructional area, but the coordinator teaches English courses and works closely with English faculty. The Writing lab is open10 hours a week.

Technology

Instructors at best practice institutions use technology only to provide supplementary assistance for tutoring and practices outside of the class. Technology should not be relied upon as a primary instructional delivery system.

The High Tech Center, which is available to disabled students, provides supplementary assistance. The AAC has computers available for students but they are not used for instructional purposes. The Math department has one course MATH 250-ALEKS

Counseling/Academic Advising

Pro-active counseling that is well integrated with instructional and other support services is most effective. Early intervention for at-risk students is crucial, with systems in place for early and ongoing communication between faculty, staff, and counselors

The Early Alert system has the potential to provide early intervention for at-risk students. The relocation of the AAC in the Manzanita building has improved communication between counseling and instructional support services, but there are no formal means of integration.

Faculty and Staff Development

Research indicates that an emphasis on training and professional development improves outcomes. Successful development education programs make staff development a priority and ensure that adjunct faculty participate. Ongoing, long term training programs with a combination of discipline specific and instructional/learning strategy topics are more effective than “one-shot” approaches. Faculty engaged in collaboration provide the kind of continuous learning that seems to be pre-requisite for transformation in learning.

Lack of funding for Staff Development is a chronic problem at Columbia. The Vocational Education Department has consistently offered Instructional Skills Workshop training to VocEd faculty for the past several years. Other than this, there have been no ongoing, long-term training programs.

 

 

ALLOCATING RESOURCES

 

Both internal and external sources site insufficient funding as a barrier to offering appropriate instruction and services to students who need skills development.  An article in the Senate Rostrum suggests that “allocating resources means not only having the quantity of resources one needs, but using them in a reasonably efficient fashion.” Richard Mahon, author of this article observes that the current wide-spread practice of recommended placement means that many students choose to enroll in classes for which they are not prepared. He goes on to say that “the lack of a mandate that students begin developing [needed] skills in computation and communication  . . . means that the limited resources available in many cases will be squandered.” Mahon concludes that if we wish to see increasing numbers of students succeed, we are going to have to explore efficient means of resource allocation as well as “find ways to get students to begin the process of remediation” early in the educational process.

 

State guidelines for establishing prerequisites require that the course content in the pre-requisite classes be validated as a necessary subset of skills for the subsequent course. Since this process is time-consuming and often requires the oversight of a Researcher, many Columbia College courses have what are called advisories, that is courses that are recommended prior to enrollment. For example, ENG 1A is an advisory for enrollment in PSYCH 1A. Columbia faculty report that students frequently ignore advisories and are therefore unprepared for the demands of the courses in which they enroll. 

 

At the Strategic Conversation in December 2005, staff began a discussion of the direction of growth at Columbia College in terms of quality vs. quantity. An important consideration in further discussion should be Mahon’s suggestion to mandate placement in developmental courses and backing that mandate with adequate resource allocations.

 


SUMMARY OF The Problems

 

After reviewing external and internal documents, the task force has identified the following problems at Columbia College.

 

 

1.       The College has created several plans which define clear goals, objectives, and activities for ensuring student access and success, but for various reasons, significant portions of these plans have not been actualized. (e.g. Student Success Plan, Special Populations Proposal Learning Support Center Proposal, aspects of the Matriculation Plan.)

 

2.       A significant number of students enroll in the college underprepared and/or insufficiently aware of college expectations and demands.

 

3.       Students do not follow advice regarding assessment results and course placement. The result is that

·         students who are not on degree or transfer track often choose not to take recommended basic skills courses because they are not required or are not pre-requisites to courses in the certificate program;

·         students ignore advisories for courses and so are unprepared for the demands of the courses.

 

4.      The mechanism for follow-up with at risk students is no longer functioning effectively.

·        The Early Alert system is fraught with problems

·        The system to monitor students who are on academic probation and dismissal is not functioning at all;

·        Monitoring methods used by EOPS, DSP&S, and CalWorks attempt to fill in the void but are sometimes redundant for student and faculty and do not necessarily result in needed follow-up with students.

 

5.      The college has not been able to maintain a viable Basic Skills Program, primarily because of an enrollment-driven funding situation.

 

6.      There is not a clear and apparent means of communication among staff regarding consistent methods and practices for ensuring student access and success.

 

7.      There is not a unified approach for assisting special populations (ESL, GED, CalWorks, Disabled, Native American students) in making successful application and transition to the college.

 

8.       The College has not established clear and reliable means of measuring student access and success.

 

 

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Columbia College needs a clearly defined organizational structure to address the identified problems.  The Task Force recommends that the college:

 

  • Create an Advisory Committee for coordination and collaboration of instructional and support services related to student access and success.
    • Committee membership should be wide-ranging with responsibility for developing specific goals, objectives, and activities (see Appendix of suggested activities).
    • The Advisory Committee should report to the Vice President for Student Learning.
    • The Advisory Committee should begin by developing an action plan to address the problems identified in this report.
    • Identify a member of the Advisory Committee to serve as the chairperson responsible for liaison with administration, connecting process and activities to the EMP, guiding the development of SLOs.
    •  

 

  • Hire a college Researcher to assess and monitor student access and success and provide relevant data to the advisory committee.
    • The Researcher should assist the committee in developing an evaluation processes and criteria for measuring student access and success.
    • The process should be integral to establishing and measuring Student Learning Outcomes across campus.
    • The process should support follow-up and intervention with at-risk students.

 

  • Focus Staff Development in terms of ongoing, long term training that includes a combination of discipline specific, instructional/learning strategy, and service-oriented approaches that facilitate student access and success.
    • The Staff Development committee and the Advisory committee should collaborate on developing appropriate activities. (See Appendix of suggested activities)

 

  • Develop a unified approach for assisting special populations, improving successful application and transition to the college, and facilitating appropriate referrals when the college cannot meet specific needs.

APPENDIX

 

 

The work of the Task Force promoted lively discussion and elicited many useful ideas. In effect, we began thinking like the proposed advisory committee.  This section of the report captures some of that thinking.

 

 

Organizational Structure

Conduct the business of the advisory committee like the Tools Team or the campus Technology Committee

·         Create a plan that is connected to the EMP and uses existing plans or portions of plans as the source for some of the activities;

·         Prioritize activities;

·         Identifies lead persons for each activity

·         Identify barriers to actualization and devise strategies to remove them.

 

Curriculum

Review current Basic Skills offerings

  • Modify and or delete curriculum as needed;
  • Convert curriculum to other formats and delivery modes such as short-term, open entry/open exit courses.
  • Reinstate courses such as ENG 206-ESL and SKLDV 251 Diagnostic Learning that assist students in transitioning to college-level course work.

 

Offer basic skills courses at off-campus sites i.e. high schools, the Family Learning Center; 

 

Develop “life skills” courses that address issues that are typically barriers to education;

 

Provide year-round GED preparation classes and other basic skills classes at Calaveras Center and Oakdale Center;

 

Infuse curriculum for all courses with objectives and activities that promote

  • Writing
  • Information competency
  • Computer literacy

 

Explore the possibility of exit-level competencies for graduation and certificates.

 

Disarm an underlying belief that basic skills are a Math and English department issue and therefore, it is the job of “those” instructors to ensure skill development.

 

Create norming sessions and staff development activities to assist all faculty in dealing with the students who demonstrate a lack of skills in writing. 

 

List prerequisites and advisories in the Class Schedule. 

 

 

 

Staff

Hire a full-time Learning Disabilities Specialist to provide not only the necessary LD assessment but also much needed intervention for disabled student, disability awareness training and liaison with college staff and community agencies.

 

Hire well trained basic skills instructors, who can also teach at the college level, for instance in English or Math.

 

Secure the Instructional Assistant for the Academic Achievement Center as a permanent 30 hour a week position, to support the effective practices of Tutoring and Supplemental Instruction.

 

 

Staff Development

Create regular, ongoing staff development opportunities that support a college-wide, consistent approach to student success and access.

 

Create/offer staff development activities that encourage faculty

  • to clearly and more uniformly communicate collegiate expectations/demands (i.e. upholding standards for writing across the curriculum)
  • to recommend/assist students in seeking appropriate/needed support. (i.e. peer tutoring/counseling/LD testing) 

 

Invite outside experts to offer training and guidance, e.g. Jennifer McBride, SPEC grant director from Merced College Basic Skills  mcbride.j@mccd.edu.  

 

Suggested topics for Staff Development activities include but are not limited to

  • Writing-Across-the-Curriculum;
  • Forming standards of assessment for writing;
  • Classroom Assessment methods;
  • Learning Communities;
  • Using rubrics for assessment; norming assessment.
  • Information competency skill building
  • Study Skills in the context of courses

 

 

Facilities:

Clearly identify the need for a center for learning support in the Master Facilities Plan.

  • Such a center should to include permanent space for Basic Skills, DSP&S, and ESL instruction.
  • Expand and develop the idea of a “One-Stop Shop” for learning support.

 

When designing the permanent Calaveras site, take steps to develop a center that can be used as a classroom and lab for skills development, including ESL.

 

 

Evaluation:

The need for a college Researcher is paramount to accomplishing the recommendations in this report.  The following activities would be more like to occur if we had a college researcher:

  • Reinstate and improve the Early Alert System
  • Improve follow-up for at-risk students, especially monitoring students who are on academic probation and dismissal
  • Explore means to actualize mandatory placement to ensure that students have pre-requisite skills
  • Explore the use of Flashlight Technology for assessment and monitoring purposes.
  • Create and measure college-wide, program, and course SLOs related to reading/writing/math/computer competency.
  • Monitor progress of students who transition from GED/Basic Skills into college-level work;
  • Track number of EOP&S, DSP&S, CalWORKs participants who successfully meet their goals;

 

Develop a college wide Student Learning Outcome that specifically addresses competency in reading, writing, mathematics, and computer literacy.

 

 

Partnerships

Develop partnerships with other county/community agencies, i.e. Job Connections of the Mother Lode, Department of Social Services; ATCCA, WATCH, Valley Mountain Regional Center to

  • Facilitate appropriate referrals
  • Create bridge opportunities
  • Share resources

 

During outreach to local feeder schools, explain and promote college-wise skills and sufficient information about pre-requisites and advisories.