Refreshers for College Readiness

Refreshers are intervention courses for students testing below college ready on the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) placement assessment in English and/or Math.  Students placing below college ready are directed to take Refreshers as an opportunity to improve placement scores.  Developmental education (DE) chairs and faculty in reading writing, and math designed refresher courses as an additional measure to place students effectively in appropriate content level course.  The objective of the additional measure is to accelerate students’ progress toward academic and career goals in order to successfully transition from DE to college level coursework.  Refreshers stem from a pilot program at Alamo Colleges District during the fall 2010 called Math PASS Program.  The program was utilized as an intervention to assist students who placed into developmental math.  The pilot program was significantly successful with data reflecting 62.3% of 860 students advancing in one to three levels higher than initial placement.  Based on the review of successful data, the Board of Trustees committed $2 million dollars annually to support student success efforts such as Refreshers.  The intervention was brought to scale and an Integrated Reading and Writing (INRW) was added.  Refreshers were implemented at full-scale beginning in the summer of 2014.  The Integrated Reading and Writing (INRW) refresher course is a face-to-face eight-clock hour course taught by INRW faculty and the Math refresher course is a face-to-face sixteen-clock hour course taught leveraging technology.  Online versions have been developed to provide students attending virtually options to take Refreshers.  Upon completion of the refresher course, a faculty-generated holistic assessment is administered.  To adequately ensure students are registered in appropriate coursework, advising protocols were developed that promote focusing on three major advising touch points with students: pre-testing, post-testing, and post-refresher advising.  Pre-test advising construes the TSI placement assessment and possible results.  After students’ initial assessment that indicates below college readiness, post-testing occurs where advisors talk to students about their career goals, discuss test scores, and register students for Refreshers.  Post-Refresher advising is conducted to ensure student registers for the appropriate course based on performance in refresher course.  The advising points--pre-assessment, pre-refresher, and post-refresher are important for guiding students as they make decisions about their career pathway and academic or certificate program.  DE Chairs regularly evaluate Refreshers for effectiveness by recalibrating curriculum based on data.  The Refresher model lends to a streamline process where advisors, faculty, and students work together in making program selection based on students' interest area.  Refreshers are now common practice and reflect significant successful data in accelerating students through DE to college credit courses.

 

Success of Refreshers

The impact of math refreshers during the fall of 2014 resulted in 28% of students advancing one-to three levels with a success in the higher-level course of 53%.  Fall 2015 results show a similar number of students advancing one-three levels with 29% of students experiencing a course placement change; however, the success in the higher-level course was significantly higher with 62% of students successful in the higher-level course.  A measure of the effectiveness of the refreshers is success in the completed course .                                                                        

 In 2015, Math Refresher students placing into a college-level math course successfully completed the course with a 70% success rate as compared to 71% of the students who did not take a Refresher course.  The success rate of math refresher students continues to increase.  The impact of INRW refreshers during the fall of 2014 resulted in 47% of 750 students advancing one-to-three levels with a success rate of 67% in the higher-level course.  Fall of 2015 resulted in a similar number of students advancing one-to-three levels with 48% of 1,070 students experiencing a course placement change; however, the success the in higher-level course was significantly higher with 70% success in the higher-level course.  In addition, Fall 2014 INRW Refresher students placing in the first college-level English successfully completed course with a 70% success rate as compared to students who did not take a Refresher course success rate of 72%.  INRW Refresher students placing in first college-level English successfully completed the course with a 65% success rate as compared to students who did not take a Refresher course success rate of 80% in 2015.  While the refresher-complete students were less successful than the students who went directly into the college-level course, students were able to move directly into the course and were successful.  Fall 2016 data is in progress, results are demonstrating 40% of 2,056 students placing in higher-level courses overall that includes Math and INRW with a significant level of success of 60% in higher-level courses.  Refreshers are placing students properly for long-term college success not just college ready as regardless of scores.  Refreshers provide an opportunity to transition into learning for long-term success.

 

Contribution to Texas' 60x30TX Strategic Plan

 

As an intervention, the goals of Refreshers align with the goals of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's (THECB) 60x30 TX Plan.  By accelerating DE coursework, students are more likely to persist and complete thus influencing the 60x30 goals of increasing the number of Texas having a certificate or degree by 60% and by affecting the number of students completing a certificate or an associate from an institution of higher education in Texas.  Furthermore, Refreshers will ultimately influence the fourth goal of the 60x30 Plan in decreasing student debt by offering Refreshers at no cost to students and by students placing in one to three higher levels saving students tuition costs ranging from approximately $1,512.00 for an in-district student to $3,693.00 for an out of district student.  Refreshers are reducing the number of developmental education courses and are saving students invaluable time and tuition costs.  Refreshers will ultimately significantly contribute to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's (THECB) 60x30 TX Plan

ID 16639

To contact this college about this intervention, take note of the ID above, ID #16639, and then fill out the intervention contact request form

Please note that for security purposes, contact information can only be provided to known contacts at active Achieving the Dream institutions.

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