Developmental Education Reform: How To Implement An Accelerated Course To Increase Retention

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National data on developmental reading and writing course attrition shows that about 29 percent of students who enroll in such courses do not successfully complete them (Attewell, Lavin, Domina, & Levey, 2006; Bailey, 2009). The attrition rate is even more drastic for students who require more than one level of developmental reading and writing coursework. About 56 percent of students who are required to take a sequence of two or more developmental reading and writing courses do not successfully complete the sequence (Attewell et al., 2006; Bailey, 2009). These high attrition rates, coupled with the increasing costs of such coursework, necessitate developmental education reform. Consequently, developmental education is under great scrutiny at the state and federal levels.

The current trend in developmental coursework is shortening the pipeline to college-level credit-bearing coursework through accelerated models. In fact, many states have begun to mandate that integrated reading and writing courses replace the traditional developmental reading and writing pathways. While many colleges are answering this call for integrated courses, very few address the curricular, pedagogical, and affective barriers that have stifled the success of students in traditional developmental reading and writing courses.

In an effort to increase success and retention among developmental students, faculty at the Community College of Baltimore County developed an accelerated course that integrates Reading and English, while emphasizing critical thinking and the notion of practicing college. This course, ACLT 052: Academic Literacy, is the result of a complete curricular and pedagogical redesign where authentic college-level reading, writing, and thinking tasks replace the traditional, skills-based approach to literacy instruction. This course accelerates students in two important waysit condenses two levels and disciplines of developmental instruction into a single 5-credit course, and it intellectually accelerates students by focusing on real-life college-level work. During this webinar, Dr. Jeanine L. Williams will discuss the guiding principles of this new course as well as the logistics, challenges, and politics involved in implementing such a model.

  • Examine the current context of developmental literacy course work including curricular and pedagogical trends, the ever-changing needs of students, and the political climate
  • Explore the ins and outs of an accelerated, integrated model for developmental literacy instruction
  • Discover practical starting points for implementing such a course at a college/university
  • Identify ways in which the guiding principles of this accelerated, integrated course can be immediately implemented could be implemented immediately in any developmental reading and/or or writing course
  • 2-year & 4-year institutions
  • Academic Affairs/Instruction
  • Faculty (full and part-time)
  • Developmental Education Specialists
  • Retention Specialists
  • First-Year Experience Coordinators
  • Learning Centers
  • Tutoring Staff
  • Anyone interested in developmental education reform
"Integrating developmental reading and writing is much more than simply cramming multiple courses into one. If we are to truly increase student success these courses must be completely redesigned to effectively address the curricular, pedagogical, and affective needs of the students. We must design these integrated courses with a focus on authentic, college-level reading, writing, and thinking tasks."
Dr. Jeanine L. Williams is Professor and Program Chair of Written Communication at the University of Maryland University College. In this role she oversees the design and delivery of developmental and first-year writing courses, along with the integration of writing across the undergraduate curriculum. She holds a Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and she has over ten years of experience teaching developmental reading and writing.  Before joining the faculty at UMUC, Dr. Williams spearheaded the complete curricular and pedagogical redesign of developmental reading and writing at the Community College of Baltimore County—moving from a traditional, skills-based approach to a critical thinking-centered, integrated reading and writing (IRW) paradigm. As the leader of this initiative, she was responsible for the course design and curriculum development, as well as faculty training and ongoing professional development.  Dr. Williams shares her expertise by serving as an IRW consultant to colleges and universities across the country, and she has published and presented nationally on integrated reading and writing, critical literacy and other non-traditional approaches to postsecondary literacy instruction.
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1 Training (Live Webinar or On-Demand Training) - $425 Unlimited connections, campus-wide access license to the recording for one year.

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Flexible Training:

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Staff Recognition: Develop a program around the webinar with monthly themes and recognize the staff members that implement the best idea related to the theme.

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New Employee Training: Include the online training as part of your new employee training program to ensure consistency.

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