Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Paired classes lead to increased student engagement and success

The CGCC learning communities team receives
recognition as Innovation of the Year from Chancellor
Rufus Glasper
A team of CGCC staff and faculty were honored at the Maricopa Community College District Innovation of the Year event for their work to renovate Chandler-Gilbert Community College's learning communities for developmental education classes.

Developmental education classes are those classes do not yet meet college-level education requirements. Students may need to take developmental education classes based on placement tests when entering college.

Learning communities integrate two or more courses in ways that meaningfully connect the knowledge of each course.

The proposal "Reinventing Developmental Education Learning Communities" notes that the team renovated the CGCC developmental education learning community offerings in reading, mathematics and English which were implemented in fall 2013. The renovated offerings were integrated with student success courses as well as classes in psychology, sociology, English and humanities.

Data gathered since that time demonstrates that students in the learning community classes had the same or higher success rates as well as retention rates than students in stand-alone classes.

More notably, evaluation of the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) results indicate students in developmental learning communities have statistically significant higher student engagement than students in stand-alone classes in five areas: active and collaborative learning, student effort, academic challenge, student-faculty interaction and support for learners.

CGCC faculty have presented this data at the last two National Conferences on Learning Communities and have been fielding questions from various institutions around the country, particularly in regards to reading and writing learning communities which had success rates that were 7.1 percent and 5.4 percent higher semester-over-semester and 8.1 percent and 6.9 percent higher year-to-year than stand alone classes respectively.

The project comes with the rapid expansion of developmental learning communities which tripled in 2013-2014 in an effort to teach nearly all reading classes in the learning community format to foster increased student success, retention and engagement.

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