Chabot College’s accelerated English course is one of the longest running accelerated models nationwide. Students who do not meet the minimum Accuplacer scores for college English have two choices for their developmental coursework. They can self-place into:
- A one-semester accelerated course that leads directly to college English (English 102, 4 units), or
- A two-semester non-accelerated sequence (English 101A-101B, 8 units)
Both the accelerated course and the two-levels-below transfer course are open-access with no minimum placement score. Both pathways integrate reading, writing, and reasoning.
Completion rates have remained high even as Chabot has increased its offerings of the accelerated course so that it is now the dominant developmental pathway at the college. In Fall 2011, the course constituted 75% of entry-level developmental sections.
Chabot’s curriculum is grounded in the belief that what “developmental” or under-prepared students need to be ready for college is practice and guidance in the same kinds of reading, thinking and writing that a good college-level course requires, with more guidance and support.
All levels of the Chabot curriculum focus on developing students’ academic literacy, specifically their ability to:
• Independently read & understand complex academic texts
• Critically respond to the ideas and information in those texts
• Write essays integrating ideas and information from those texts
All developmental classes are graded Pass/No Pass. Students read full-length books, primarily non-fiction, and write analytic essays. The shorthand for this approach: “English1A at all levels.” This philosophy guides both the accelerated and non-accelerated paths.
Chabot’s sister college Las Positas offers a similar one-semester course integrating reading and writing. For many years, this course was — like Chabot’s — open to students with any placement score. In the last few years, Las Positas has piloted a cut score for the accelerated course, which has channeled nearly 90% of developmental students into the one-semester pathway. As at Chabot, accelerated students at Las Positas complete college English at significantly higher rates than students from the two-semester developmental path.
A number of California colleges are currently piloting similar accelerated models. These include American River, Butte, Citrus, Gavilan, Imperial Valley, Los Angeles Trade Tech, San Diego City, San Diego Mesa, and Solano College. In addition, the California Acceleration Project is supporting the development of similar pilots in Hawaii, Arkansas, and Maryland.
Spotlight on Curricular Transformation:
Shortening the Pipeline and Integrating Reading and Writing at Citrus College
Article by Katie Hern. Originally posted April 5, 2012.
With 3 levels of developmental reading and 3 levels of developmental writing, a Citrus College student who blew the placement test could spend a year and a half and take a total of 18 remedial units before he even got to college English. If, that is, he could even get into the classes he needed.
Starting in Fall 2011, aside from a few grandfathered sections for students already in the pipeline, Citrus College has replaced its entire curriculum. Most developmental students now enroll in just one 5-unit integrated reading and writing course. The rest take an additional 1-unit lab.
Spotlight: Las Positas College
Expanding and Refining an Established Accelerated Program
Article by Katie Hern. Originally posted March 2011.
Las Positas began offering accelerated developmental English in 1999. Over the last several years, because of strong student outcomes, the English department has increased its accelerated offerings so that these courses are now the primary curriculum for developmental English. Nearly 90% of students who don’t qualify for College English are now directed to a 4-unit integrated reading-and-writing course that leads directly to English 1A.
The remaining 10-12% of students enroll in an eight-unit, two-semester integrated reading-and-writing sequence. For this group, an additional acceleration mechanism is in place: students are able to skip the second semester and go directly to English 1A if they earn 90% or higher in their coursework and pass the pre-1A department final. (Read more…)