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developmental education

As a result of new research and promising practice, we have more clarity than ever about how we can fundamentally transform our developmental education system to improve success for all students. To propel the movement forward, this statement offers a set of clear and actionable principles that, although not the final word on dev ed reform, sets a new course that can dramatically improve the postsecondary success of millions of students across the nation. 

To be clear: The principles that guide this statement advocate changing current dev ed systems so that all students, no matter their skill levels or background, have a real opportunity to earn a college credential. Some may see this statement as supporting changes that discourage or divert students from their pursuit of a college credential. Nothing is further from the truth. Rather, we believe the systemic changes we propose, all of which can be found in some colleges and state systems around the country, are much more likely than current practice to provide a clear path that all students can follow to achieve their academic and career goals.

In the end, the strategies we propose increase overall college completion rates, particularly among students who have traditionally been underserved by our postsecondary institutions.

Charles A. Dana Center, Complete College America, Inc., Education Commission of the States, & Jobs for the Future

The main purpose of this planning tool is to help community colleges facilitate productive conversations and develop systemwide plans to raise student completion rates substantially. The planning tool is initially targeted at colleges participating in the Completion by Design initiative. Based on these colleges’ experiences and feedback, the planning tool will be revised and augmented as a living document, to capture and disseminate information about improving student completion rates.

This planning tool draws from the ideas described in Changing Course: A Guide to Increasing Student Completion in Community Colleges and is designed to serve as a complement to that document. Whereas the guide introduces the key goals and principles of the Completion by Design initiative, this planning tool offers a series of self-reflective questions to assist community colleges in examining their own areas of strength and their emphasis on increasing student success on their campuses. As colleges use these questions and other inquiry-based processes to rethink and redesign their services and programs, this planning tool also provides them with information about the range of practices that community colleges have used to improve student completion rates.

Venezia, A., Bracco, K., and Nodine, T.

The goal of this guide is to assist community college faculty, staff, and administrators as they begin rethinking and redesigning their systems, programs, and instruction to increase student completion. The guide identifies the goals of the Completion by Design initiative; summarizes key design principles for improving completion rates; and, in the process, offers a common language for initiating this work. It is understood that the community colleges participating in the initiative bring a wide range of expertise and skills to this process and that their work will refine and advance what we know about improving student completion rates in community colleges.

A companion document, Changing Course: A Planning Tool for Increasing Student Completion in Community Colleges, offers additional information and strategies, including a series of self-reflective questions to assist colleges in planning their own approaches to improving college completion. The companion document will be further developed during the planning year, based on participating colleges’ experiences.

In conjunction with these documents, Completion by Design has developed a Knowledge Center to provide an online space where colleges and individuals can find and share information about innovative practices, research findings, student metrics, self-assessment tools, and other materials related to the initiative.

Nodine, T., Venezia, A., and Bracco, K.

This toolkit contains worksheets, policy questions and communications tools designed to help state and education leaders assess the need for community college developmental education.  It provides support for reshaping policy to assist community college efforts to reduce the number of students entering college underprepared and improve the success of students who are underprepared but already enrolled.  It examines current and emerging policy trends in developmental education.

Thomas G. Greene
Community College Bridges to Opportunity Initiative, University of Texas - Austin

Community colleges can increase student success by using placement procedures to assess the academic skills of entering students so they are placed in appropriate courses. This policy brief describes the experiences of three states as they revised their placement assessment policies.

Michael Lawrence Collins
Achieving the Dream and Jobs for the Future

This issue brief describes how the 15 states participating in the Achieving the Dream initiative have concentrated their policy efforts on four key areas: Preventative Strategies, Assessment and Placement, Implementation and Evaluation of Program Innovation, and Performance Measurement and Incentives.

Michael Lawrence Collins
Jobs for the Future