April 28, 2014, Sacramento CA — The Research and Planning Group released its evaluation of accelerated English and math pathways of 16 colleges today, finding “large and robust” increases in student completion of college-level requirements in English and math, with gains across all student demographic and socioeconomic groups and placement levels.
The 16 colleges included in the study were part of the California Acceleration Project, funded by the state Chancellor’s Office through a grant to the 3CSN professional development network. All 16 colleges redesigned their curricula to reduce students’ time in remediation by one or more semesters, as well as better align new courses with college-level requirements. In math, colleges piloted redesigned pathways for students intending to take statistics to fulfill their math requirements (i.e. those in non-math-intensive majors). The colleges made no changes to the rigor or content of college level English and math courses.
Using statistical methods to control for pre-existing differences in student characteristics, the RP Group’s quasi-experimental evaluation found that in high impact models of accelerated English, students’ odds of completing a college-level course were 2.3 times greater than students in traditional remediation. In accelerated statistics pathways, students’ odds of completing a college-level math course were 4.5 times greater than students in traditional remediation.
“The implication is that students from an array of skill ranges can be prepared for success in transfer-level English or statistics,” write researchers Craig Hayward and Terrence Willett. “No specific placement level was associated with negative outcomes, indicating that these accelerated pilots adhered to a ‘do no harm’ principle.”
The study is featured at a Capitol Hill briefing today co-sponsored by the Campaign for College Opportunity, LearningWorks, the Edge Coalition, and the Community College League of California.
- The findings are highlighted in a policy brief by LearningWorks.
- The evaluation summary and full report are available from the RP Group.
Illustration from the report: The problem acceleration addresses