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Supporting Californias 112 Community Colleges to redesign their English and Math Curricula and Increase Student Completion

Lessons Learned from the California Acceleration Project Katie Hern & Myra Snell with Craig Hayward, Terrence Willett and Rob Johnstone

The Problem: High Attrition in Remedial Sequences

The Promise of Acceleration

Data from established accelerated models show dramatic gains in student completion of college English/Math when curricula are redesigned to save students one or more terms of remediation English: Chabot College, Las Positas College, the Community College of Baltimore County Math: Los Medanos College

A Statewide Movement
More than 100 CA community colleges have participated in CAP acceleration workshops hosted by 3CSN

42 colleges are now piloting accelerated courses as part of 3CSNs CAP Community of Practice, participating in three in-person workshops, ongoing coaching, and a large peer-to-peer network (applications available in early spring for the 2014-15 cycle)
CAP website with resources to support colleges implementing acceleration received more than 10,000 unique visits in 18 months

Overview of session
Illustrations of pedagogical changes faculty make as they shift to acceleration Findings from a new fiscal tool for comparing the costs of accelerated math pathways and traditional remedial curricula Early findings from an RP study of student completion in CAP accelerated pilots

CAP Principles for Curricular Redesign

Increasing completion of college-level English and Math requires shorter developmental pathways and broader access to college-level courses. We must reduce our reliance on high-stakes placement tests, which are poor predictors of student capacity.

Streamlined developmental curricula should reflect five key principles:

Backward design from college-level courses Relevant, thinking-oriented curriculum Just-in-time remediation Low-stakes, collaborative practice Intentional support for students affective needs

Reading/Writing Away from

Traditional remediation front-loads sub-skills, on the assumption that before students can do a more complex task, they must have mastery of its component parts:
In reading: workbook exercises on recognizing main ideas, building vocabulary In writing: grammar exercises before paragraph writing, personal essays before text-based essays

In English, accelerated pedagogy gives under-prepared students experience with college-level reading, reasoning, and writing, with more in-class scaffolding and support than in a regular college course. Sub-skills in reading and writing are addressed as needed in the context of the more challenging work.

From Deceleration to Acceleration: An Illustration

Typical Changes to Pedagogy

More reading assigned, more challenging texts More class time spent discussing and writing about readings, less on grammar instruction Readings used not just as models of writing, but as content for students own papers Writing assignments not simply about personal experience students write academic essays; paraphrase, quote, synthesize texts; and use critical thinking to answer higher-order questions

Insights from CAP faculty

In the non-accelerated classroom, I think I focused more on teaching students to eliminate the superficial errors, so students in that class ended up producing a prettier assignment; however, their writing did not illustrate complexity of thought.This was partly due to the formulaic nature of the assignments I used to give (topic sentence should look like this and be placed here, supporting details should go here, etc.) and mostly due to the lack of opportunity for critical thinking in my previous assignments. Summer Serpas, Irvine Valley College

Insights from CAP faculty

With the right support, students are capable of doing great academic work! They dont need to start with a simple paragraph. They can write complex essays from the start. -Anonymous faculty reflection

Teaching accelerated courses has changed my outlook on student capacity. I learned to trust in students ability to handle challenges and tackle meaningful academic work. - Caroline Minkowski, City College SF

Away from One long developmental math pathway for all students. Toward A short pathway with remediation aligned with students field of study. For students in areas that are not math-intensive, align remediation with general education requirements, such as Statistics.

Away fromdecontextualized algebra, mimicry of symbolic procedures and template word problems

An apple falling from a tree is h feet above the ground t seconds after it begins to fall, where h=64-16t^2. How long does it take the apple to hit the ground?

Toward data analysis and decision-making in the face of uncertainty

What factors correlate with low birth weights? Use graphs and conditional percentages to investigate the relationship between one of the factors in the data set and low birth weight. Present your results in 500 words or less, include relevant graphs and calculations. Data set: Birth weights and 6 qualitative factors from a Massachusetts study of 189 pregnant women.

Changes to Math Pedagogy: An Illustration

Student Reflections
It was developing my critical thinking. Not just looking at a formula and learning how to solve it you know, where does this go, what are the rules.Its more about evaluating, its more about the analysisIts more about understanding how to make a conclusion about the data set. Describing her instructor s approach to the class: Its kind of likeYou dig in and get your hands dirty, however you feel you need to, and Im here for you to help clarify, to help understand, help get you along better. I like that. Its more like the instructor is a facilitator, as opposed to, Im spewing out all this information that I need you to regurgitate on an exam. -Accelerated Pre-Statistics Students at College of the Canyons

Faculty Reflections
I go to the board, and I start to lecture, and it kills the magic in the room.Theyre not enthusiastic, theyre not paying attention, theyre looking at their cell phones.I figure, If I just explain at bit more, itll be ok. But the more I tried to front-load, the worse it got. And then this kid in the class comes up after.and he goes, Now Terrie, Ive noticed that your pedagogical practices have been about us discovering what we need, and I think what happened today is that you failed to trust the process. -Terrie Nichols, Math Instructor, Cuyamaca I kind of started getting into this mindset, Well, if they dont care, I cant make them careI really just thought it was laziness. Now I realizeits just that students are intimidated. They dont want to act like they care because then they would be failures if they didnt succeed. -Evelyn Ngo, Math Instructor, College of the Canyons

Intentional Support for Students Affective Needs

Student fears and fixed mindsets are two of the biggest challenges to overcome in highchallenge accelerated classes.
The College Fear Factor by Rebecca Cox
Many community college students fear that theyre not cut out for college and cope with this fear by withdrawing and/or avoiding assessment (e.g., not take tests, not turn in papers)

Brainology by Carol Dweck

Whether students have a fixed or growth mindset about their own intelligence strongly influences their academic performance, especially their response to challenging tasks

Intentional Support for Students Affective Needs

CAP faculty are finding that these two resources are powerful tools for helping students be more aware of themselves as learners.
Video: Accelerated English and Math students respond to Carol Dwecks work on mindsets

What are we learning about the costs of accelerated pathways? Dr. Robert Johnstone
The Fiscal Implications of Accelerated Math Pathways

The California Acceleration Project: Using a Cost Efficiency Model to Investigate Key Outcomes and Fiscal Considerations

Dr. Rob Johnstone Strengthening Student Success Conference Burlingame, CA October 10, 2013 22

Overview of Key Outcomes of the Model

At the end of the day Most importantly and its really important not to forget this the bottom line is that CAP works. Significantly more students achieve success in transfer level courses

National Center for Inquiry & Improvement


Key Fiscal Outcomes

NCII was commissioned to model the impact of CAP on a range of fiscal outcomes, including:
Cost per completer Cost of the pre-transfer sequence Cost of the entire mathematics pathway Ratio of instructional cost in pre-transfer courses Student tuition & book savings Student wage gains

National Center for Inquiry & Improvement


Summary of Findings
When the model was applied to real-world data from the seven initial CAP colleges, we found that:
CAP significantly increases student completion of transferable math courses see Terrence / Craig s presentation for specifics CAP significantly lowers cost per completer CAP reduces the cost of remediation and allows dollars to be reallocated to transferable courses

CAP results in a significant decrease in student tuition / books costs and an increase in wage gains by helping students complete sooner
National Center for Inquiry & Improvement 26

Customized Model from Cuyamaca

Cuyamaca College Assumptions / Model Inputs

Summary of assumptions for Cuyamaca Model:
# of students at scale: 678 % attempting to pass transfer-level course, non-STEM: 83% Placement distribution (Pre/Beg/Int/Trans): 23/36/31/10 Instructional Cost per Unit: $3,738 (FT), $1,358 (PT) FT / PT Faculty Ratios: Pre-Transfer Traditional: 28% FT / 72% PT, Transfer Traditional: 47%/53%, CAP: 50%/50% Average class size: 38 for all three Avg. attempts: 1.05 / 1.25 / 1.25 / 1.50 Trad; 1.10 / 1.20 CAP Cohort Success Rates - Blended Average from Basic Skills Progress Tracker: Success through transfer level 10% (Pre), 14% (Beg), 29% (Int), 80% (Trans)
National Center for Inquiry & Improvement 28

College-based Outcomes, Cuyamaca College

Outcome 1. Blended Entering Cohort Completion Rate of Transfer-Level Math Course 2. Total cost of Pathway, Including Transfer Course 3. Cost of Pre-Transfer Math Courses in Pathway 4. Cost per Completer of Transfer-Level Math Course 5. Percentage of Cost in Pre-Transfer Math Courses Traditional 22% $264,766 $193,710 $1,934 73% CAP 50% $289,796 $149,426 $831 52% Improvement 127% -9% 23% 57% 30%

National Center for Inquiry & Improvement

Reflections & Next Steps

Model shows significant improvements in:
Cost per completer Cost of pre-transfer math % of cost in pre-transfer math Student tuition & book savings Student wage gains

Absolute cost of the pathway roughly the same

Again without considering revenue from FTES

Model can be customized for use at any college BOTTOM LINE STILL: The actual improvement in students achievement of transfer-level math success

National Center for Inquiry & Improvement


Find Out More

The National Center for Inquiry & Improvement website (Coming Soon)

Dr. Rob Johnstone, Founder & President

CAP Cost Efficiency Model White Paper (coming soon)

National Center for Inquiry & Improvement


How are students performing in the accelerated English and math courses across the state?
Early data from an RP Group outcomes evaluation of colleges that began piloting accelerated courses with CAP in 2011-12

California Acceleration Project Evaluation

Preliminary Results

Craig Hayward Terrence Willett Strengthening Student Success 2013 Burlingame, California

Participating Colleges (F11-Su12)

Accelerated section count by college pseudonym
Alpha Beta Delta Gamma Pi Eta Zeta Theta Epsilon Omega Iota Kappa Lambda Mu Nu 0 10 20 30 40

English Math

CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013

Accelerated students

compared to traditional Equated on placement level First time in discipline Outcome is passing the relevant transfer-level gatekeeper course Multivariate model includes time, placement, acceleration
CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013

Accelerated English & Math Students

CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013

Accelerated Students

CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013

A series of hoops
Requirement Sample size: English
1,994 (100%) 1,608 (81%) 1,016 (51%)

Sample size: Math

881 (100%)

All accelerated students in time frame with assessment scores and with no prior course in the discipline

503 (57%) 333 (38%)

CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013

Assessment results: a primary control

Assessment match rate by college: English
100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 95% 83% 83% 78% 78% 77%


Alpha Epsilon Beta Gamma Zeta



CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013

Assessment results: a primary control

Assessment match rate by college: Math
80% 70% 60% 75% 74% 73% 62% 62% 59%

40% 30% 20% 10%

Mu Alpha Eta Theta Delta Lambda

CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013

Highest placement of accelerated English students

Placement of accelerated English students
45% 40% 35% 30% 39% 35%

20% 15% 10% 5% 1% Transfer level One level Two levels below below Three levels below Four levels below 13% 11%


CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013

Highest placement of accelerated math students

Placement of accelerated math students
40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 38% 27% 19% 14% 2% Transfer level One level Two levels below below Three levels below Four levels below

CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013


CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013

Cohort Completion Rate by Placement Level: English

CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013

Cohort Completion Rate by Placement Level: Math

CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013

Multivariate model confirmation

A logistic regression was run for each of the six colleges in the CAP English analysis file Model considered the individual and combined associations of time, placement, and acceleration for first-time English takers

Higher average cohort completion for:

Earlier cohorts Students with higher placements Students in accelerated courses

CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013

W H O I S B E I N G A C C E L E R AT E D ?


CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013


48% 52%

Female Male

47% 53%

CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013

54% 50% 46% Asian African American Filipino Hispanic Multi Native American Pacific Islander White

30% 20%



10% 0%



CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013

Still early in the analysis process Data issues kept four colleges out of analysis For the four levels below group, it is too soon to conclude that acceleration doesnt work

Simpsons paradox may be at play

Significant effects of acceleration found Variations among colleges appear to be meaningful, still being assessed

CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013

Next research steps

Bring accelerated and comparison students with prior course-taking into the model Additional control variables Improve assessment data match rate Develop overall hierarchical model to account for college-level variation

CAP Evaluation Preliminary Results, SSSC October 2013

What Have We Learned

Changes to curricular structure are being supported by changes to pedagogy in accelerated classes

In a partial analysis of the first year of CAP pilot colleges, student completion of transfer-level English and math has increased significantly. Variation in completion rates at individual colleges points to potentially significant implementation considerations.
Financially, accelerated math pathways reduce remediation costs, enable colleges to reallocate resources to transferable courses, and benefit students through reduced book/tuition expenses and wage increases from expedited completion.

Next Steps
Recruiting colleges for 2014-15 Applications for the Community of Practice in Acceleration will be available on the CAP website in early spring Addressing policy-level challenges of UC/CSU articulation for accelerated math pathways
Near-term, community colleges use Title 5-mandated prerequisite challenge processes to offer alternative math pathways Long-term, community college system needs to work with CSU/UC to re-examine the Intermediate Algebra pre-requisite policy for Statistics and Liberal Arts math and make space for promising pathway innovations

Join us!
One-day regional workshops:
November 15, Fresno (Central Valley) February 7, Chabot College (Bay Area) March 7, West LA College (Greater LA)

More information on all of todays session will be available through the CAP website in the coming months:,

The California Acceleration Project is supported by the California Community Colleges Success Network (3CSN), through a professional development grant from the state Chancellor s Offices Basic Skills Initiative. Additional support has been provided by the Walter S. Johnson Foundation, LearningWorks, and the Scaling Innovation project of the Community College Research Center, funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.