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JULY 15, 2020
Dear Colleagues,

It is midsummer.  A time to relax, rejuvenate, and plan for the coming year.  Yet, it is challenging to do all three this summer.

There is a great deal of interest in innovation – which is much needed.  However, in doing so let’s be sure we do not add another layer of policy or confusion to the lived experiences of students, faculty and staff. All too often scaling innovation lacks its necessary complement: removing old policies and practices.  

This is why we see campuses with 30 developmental education English courses, each one developed to solve a problem – real or perceived – without a look at the bigger picture. This duplication created by well-intended innovation can create confusion.

No doubt the decisions you are making are not easy and will require attention so that they do not create additional structural barriers. Keep in mind that the Strong Start to Finish team always aims to be a resource to you, and especially now as you navigate such uncharted territory.



Sincerely,



Christopher M. Mullin, Ph.D.
Director, Strong Start to Finish


 



 

This July we welcome seven new systems to our work.  These new systems – termed Strategy Sites – are undertaking targeted work to advance developmental education reforms.  In addition, our original Scaling Sites have identified and been supported to also undertake targeted reforms.  Both were funded to not only advance their systems, but to inform our collective work.  Below you will find each, along with the goal they will achieve by next fall: 

  • University System of Georgia
    • Goal: At the end of this project, the USG will have developed and scaled a Statistics Pathway for USG students
  • California Community Colleges
    • Goal: At the end of this project, the CCC system will have greatly improved data on gateway math and English courses and the student supports being offered in conjunction with those courses.
  • The State University of New York
    • Goal: At the end of this project, SUNY will have recommendations for implementation of new multiple measures placement guidelines at both the system and institutional level.
  • Ohio Strong Start to Finish
    • Goal: At the end of this project, 40% of students in gateway mathematics and English with corequisite support at all SSTF Ohio institutions will be taught by faculty who have learned about, and are implementing, evidence-based teaching practices.
  • Strong Start Arkansas
    • Goal: At the end of this project, faculty and leadership at all 32 public institutions in Arkansas will have undergone professional development to implement corequisite English using evidence-based teaching and learning practices to meet the SSTF goal of 75% of underprepared students in English receiving corequisite support.
  • Colorado Department of Higher Education
    • Goal: At the end of this project, 80% of academic advisors across Colorado will achieve certification from the Department of Higher Education to deliver effective, equity-driven, and purpose-focused developmental education advising to ensure gaps in math and English skills are addressed and ameliorated at all institutions in the state.
  • Louisiana Board of Regents
    • Goal: At the end of this project, all 28 public undergraduate institutions in Louisiana will have the tools and skills needed to successfully implement their evidence-based corequisite math plans, at scale. 
  • Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
    • Goal: At the end of this project, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities will have created corequisite courses at all participating campuses to ensure that 100% of students pursuing non-STEM (e.g. Statistics/Quantitative Reasoning) math pathways can enroll in college credit-bearing coursework within their first semester.
  • Nevada System of Higher Education
    • Goal: At the end of this project, in accordance with state system policy, all students at public, higher education institutions in Nevada will be advised and enrolled in gateway math and English courses, with or without corequisite support, in one of three math pathways (quantitative reasoning, college algebra, pre-calculus), and one English composition pathway.
  • Oregon Community College Association
    • Goal: At the end of this project, Oregon will have developed corequisite courses for STEM and non-STEM math pathways that will transfer statewide and will be available in the course catalogs in all participating institutions no later than Fall 2021.
  • Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
    • Goal: At the end of this project, Pennsylvania will have developed evidence-based and faculty-driven guidelines for corequisite math instruction that will be adopted for implementation at the majority of universities in the PASSHE system beginning Fall 2021.
  • Tennessee Board of Regents –The College System of Tennessee
    • Goal: At the end of this project, TBR will have analyzed existing data to develop insights into remediation reforms at TBR colleges and shared these insights to identify action steps and disseminate tools for the implementation of tailored support strategies.
Learn more about each project here.
Using rigorous mixed-methods designs, the following projects will expand our collective understanding to improve our policy and practice as we further spur equity-centered research, policy and practice innovation and invention.
  • University of Houston and Houston Community College
    • Purpose: To identify, for students who are unsuccessful in corequisite/gateway pairings, the subsequent academic behaviors (e.g., course-taking, credit load, grades) and institutional practices (e.g., advising, feedback from corequisite faculty) that result in a viable pathway to gateway course success.
  • University of Houston and Houston Community College
    • Purpose: To identify how the structural characteristics of a corequisite developmental education course (e.g., delivery format, pedagogy, faculty) relate to success in corequisite coursework for first-year students across the Houston Community College System.
  • The University of Michigan and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
    • Purpose: To assess the extent to which students of historically disadvantaged racial/ethnic groups are disproportionately placed, directed, or self-select into non-STEM math pathways in Colorado’s 13 system community colleges, and how inequities in this regard may vary with the particular developmental reform strategies implemented by the colleges.
  • The University of Michigan and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
    • Purpose: To understand to what degree are certain developmental corequisite design features associated with differences in effectiveness of the corequisite model.
  • Motivate Labs, The University of Virginia
    • Purpose: To investigate the relationship between students’ learning mindsets, student learning outcomes in corequisite math and English courses, and ongoing measures of student success in higher education (e.g., persistence, degree attainment, transfer to a 4-year institution). This will occur in two phases: 1) evaluate the effects of previously completed learning mindset interventions on student success in corequisite and introductory mathematics courses, and 2) build a multi-state database that links measures of first-year students’ learning mindsets to corequisite math and English outcomes and subsequent persistence using statewide administrative data in The College System of Tennessee (13 community colleges) and the University System of Georgia (26, 4-year institutions).
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
    • Purpose: To identify how often programs of study have math and English requirements.
  • Student Ready Strategies
    • Purpose: To identify the distribution of gateway math and English courses.

The following partner-led research, policy, and practice projects that emerge from equity frameworks and support aspects of developmental education reform at scale will be created and disseminated for adoption and implementation.
  • SOVA Solutions & Partners
    • Title: A Toolkit for Mid-Level Managers
  • The Charles A. Dana Center & Partners
    • Title: Corequisite Mathematics Toolkit Development with National Consensus and Initial Field Testing
  • ACUE & Partners
    • Title: Evidence-based Practices to Engage and Support Faculty and Staff in the Reform of Developmental Education, A Strong Start to Finish Toolkit

Starting July 15, 2020 - An early deliverable from the corequisite mathematics toolkit – a partnership between the Charles A. Dana Center, Carnegie Math Pathways/WestEd and BVC – is a series of FREE webinars titled ”Creating Effective and Equitable Corequisite Mathematics Courses in a Virtual Environment.”  The webinars will be recorded and available on the Dana Center and SSTF websites. Register here.

In the short term, the Strong Start to Finish team is not traveling, as scheduled events have been cancelled in an abundance of caution.  You can still find us via email, on webinars, and in the press.

Recent Webinars:
  • Denley, T. (2020, June 2).  USG Corequisite models.  [Webinar]. Presentation to the Strong Start to Finish Scaling Site Project Leads and invited systems

Upcoming Webinars:
For these and additional upcoming events from systems and partners, visit our Events page: https://strongstart.org/connect/events. The registration link for each session in the series of upcoming webinars outlined below can be found here.
  • Edgecomb, N. (2020, July 15) Corequisites in a virtual environment: Promoting equity (Webinar Series). Austin, TX: The Charles A. Dana Center. 
  • Edgecomb, N. (2020, July 16) Corequisites in a virtual environment: Promoting equity (Webinar Series). Austin, TX: The Charles A. Dana Center.  
  • Carnegie Math Pathways (2020, July 29) Corequisites in a virtual environment: Fostering connectedness and belonging (Webinar Series). Austin, TX: The Charles A. Dana Center. 
  • Carnegie Math Pathways (2020, July 30) Corequisites in a virtual environment: Fostering connectedness and belonging (Webinar Series). Austin, TX: The Charles A. Dana Center. 
  • Charles A. Dana Center. (2020, August 5) Corequisites in a virtual environment: Providing wrap-around supports (Webinar Series). Austin, TX: The Charles A. Dana Center. 
  • Charles A. Dana Center. (2020, August 6) Corequisites in a virtual environment: Providing wrap-around supports (Webinar Series). Austin, TX: The Charles A. Dana Center. 
  • Charles A. Dana Center. (2020, August 12) Corequisites in a virtual environment: Assessing student learning (Webinar Series). Austin, TX: The Charles A. Dana Center. 
  • Charles A. Dana Center. (2020, August 13) Corequisites in a virtual environment: Assessing student learning (Webinar Series). Austin, TX: The Charles A. Dana Center. 

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