Teaching an accelerated courses often looks quite different from teaching in a more traditional, longer remedial sequence. Given this, faculty need support as they begin teaching in these models, such as classroom-tested materials, pedagogical practices they can adapt, and other teachers they can talk with.
The Community of Practice in Acceleration is a year-long professional development program for colleges offering at least two sections of an accelerated English, math, or ESL course. Funded through the Chancellor’s Office’s Basic Skills Initiative grant to 3CSN, teams of participating faculty attend three weekend institutes throughout the year (June, September, January), and receive email and phone coaching to address questions and challenges coming up for them.
The California Acceleration Project is now in its third cycle of the Community of Practice. To date, more than 160 faculty from 42 colleges have participated, with several colleges offering accelerated courses in more than one discipline (math, English, ESL). We conservatively estimate that more than 450 sections of redesigned accelerated curricula are now being offered each year at these colleges.
Beyond offering pilots, several colleges have made changes to their entire curriculum, including reducing the number levels of developmental English from four to two, integrating separate reading and writing curricula, and adjusting placement scores to enable more students to bypass remediation and begin in college-level courses.