How to fix developmental education

According to a PBS article, an increasing number of students who enroll in public colleges enter unprepared. At first glance, the idea of dropping placement tests like Accuplacer may seem like a bad idea. After all, students with low skills need to be identified and brought up to speed. But consider the following factors: outside stress, illness, and poor test-taking skills can all impact student scores. Much of the time, results don’t reflect what students can actually accomplish, because too many variables can cause an inaccurate result in a single placement test.

Then there’s the problem of the remedial label; often, students who place in developmental classes don’t attend their courses. The stigma can interfere with student achievement.

Enter competency-based learning, a solution many community colleges are choosing to better serve students whose skills are still developing. The model is gaining in popularity at colleges and universities across the country, including Northern Essex in Massachusetts, Purdue University, the University of Michigan, and Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).…Read More