Panel Paper: Accelerating Students into College-Level Coursework: Approaches of Community Colleges to Texas State Policy Around Co-Requisite Support Models

Friday, November 3, 2017
Haymarket (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Lindsay Daugherty1, Celia J. Gomez1, Diana Carew1, Alexandra Mendoza-Graf1 and Trey Miller2, (1)RAND Corporation, (2)American Institutes for Research

Many states and higher education institutions across the United States are exploring options to accelerate college students through developmental education and more quickly into college-level coursework. The research indicates that these policies, often referred to as mainstreaming, or co-requisite models, lead to higher rates of student success in postsecondary education (Cho et al., 2012; Edgecomb et al., 2014; Jaggars et al., 2014). The state of Texas developed new policy and guidance that required higher education institutions to develop models of acceleration into college-level coursework with support beginning in 2013-14. The state’s policy and guidance offered wide latitude to institutions around the approaches developed and the students who participated in supported acceleration. This study assesses the implementation of the supported acceleration in writing at Texas community colleges in 2016-17. We conducted interviews with more than 100 administrators and faculty members across more than 30 community colleges in Texas. In addition, we collected more detailed implementation data on five community colleges participating in a randomized control trial through classroom observations, focus groups with faculty and students, course documentation, and cost data. We describe the range of approaches taken in response to state policy and compare models in Texas community colleges to other approaches studied in the literature according to key features of design. We discuss the various mechanisms through which supported acceleration into college-level coursework might be driving impacts on student outcomes, and how these mechanisms may be related to various approaches to supported acceleration. We also discuss barriers and facilitators to implementation, as well as considerations for states and institutions as they adopt similar policies and models. Finally, we discuss the cost effectiveness of the models at our five randomized control trial institutions.