Co-requisite classes for acceleration

English and Mathematics Labs

Enrollment in supplementary labs has been required of North Central State College students placing low in ENGL 1010 gateway English (eWrite score of 6-7), WRIT 0090 developmental writing (eWrite score of 2-3), and MATH 0070 developmental mathematics (COMPASS Pre-Algebra score of 0-25). The supplementary labs are aimed at providing additional practice, skill building, and consultation with the students’ instructor.

Under semesters (AY2013 through first semester of AY2015), 173 students (10%) have taken a supplementary lab—8% in gateway English, 17% in developmental writing, and 9% in developmental mathematics. In gateway English, lab students have performed at an equal pace with non-lab students (68% success versus 68%). In developmental writing, lab students have had a higher success rate than students who placed higher (63% versus 55%). In developmental mathematics, lab students have not been as successful as non-lab students (64%versus 72%); reducing lab sizes and providing more structure will be used to increase success in mathematics labs.


Strategies to Accelerate Developmental Math and Gateway Statistics

In summer 2015, North Central State College introduced a co-requisite algebra (STAT 0086) for its college-level Probability and Statistics course (STAT 1010).


2006 – Mandatory assessment and placement for math. However, generally only the engineering and business-related majors required college-level math. Some students were not even required to complete the sequence for their program. College-level math generally consists of technical math and business math.
2008 – All degree programs require the students must at least complete the developmental math sequence if there is not a gateway math requirement.
2009 – Associate of arts and science degrees introduced, requiring completion of college algebra.
2012 – Semester conversion. All degree programs with the exception of nursing require college-level math. Most of the new programs adopt a variable relationship or statistics course, neither of which are transferable. The college adds a new developmental level to better service students who will require college algebra – equaling four potential levels.
2012 – The college begins converting its two lowest levels of developmental math into eight-week sessions allowing for completion in a semester. To assist students placing very low in math, a co-requisite lab is added for the first eight-week session.
2013 – More programs begin adopting transferable statistics as an alternative to college algebra.
2015 – Most health and public service programs have now adopted transferable statistics as their gateway math (including nursing) – requiring up to four math levels under the traditional model. The college introduces a co-requisite lab for college-level statistics serving both the transferable (advance two levels) and non-transferable (advance one level). Of the 228 students attempting transferable statistics in summer and fall 2015 for the first time, more than half are co-requisite students.
2016 – All programs that previously carried the non-transferable statistics courses are switching over to the transferable course. The two lowest-level developmental courses are being formally merged into one course. Students placing into the lowest levels will be part of a lab covering the entire semester.
For the fall 2015 cohort, math requirements for majors were as follows:

6% certificate requiring no math.
5% college algebra
31% business or technical math
60% statistics

 Entering cohort referrals for developmental math have dropped each year since 2012, from 59% to 48%. However, consistently 70% of those placed developmental are in the bottom two levels.


Problem - Attrition

The philosophy behind acceleration is to take away as many points of leakage (attrition) as possible. The IR Department conducted two studies on attrition for students who passed the lowest level math (0070) and the next level (0072). For 434 students passing 0072, only 69% pass the next level. Part of the reason is that 16% don’t even attempt 0072 – even though its offering as a sequence in the same semester. The problem compounds for students who pass 0072 but don’t attempt the next level (0074), so only 50% of students who pass 0070 even attempt 0074.

The other study started with 706 students who pass 0072, since this is the launching points for acceleration with the developmental co-requisites. Only 79% of these students even attempted the next level of math, and only 57% passed the next level. Gateway attempts and pass rates are even worse, though much of this is colored by the fact that nursing did not require college-level math until 2015. However, by moving all public serve and health programs to the transferable statistics course, this would essentially require up to four levels of developmental math.

Early results from the acceleration strategies

Results are mixed but very early for the statistics corequisite courses. The co-requisite strategy for STAt 1010 allowed acceleration of up to two developmental levels upon completion of pre-algebra. Many students had already taken MATH 0074. Course success was evaluated under semesters most of which were taken in summer and fall 2015. It broke first-time attempts by those who took the lab (120) vs. those not required (235). The lab group was further broken down by those attempting to advance two levels to one level. Success was defined by both ABC and ABCD (program requirements differ). However, for this summary success will be defined ABC.

On a positive note, there was virtually no difference in success rates in the statistics gateway whether the student had passed only 0072 or 0074. Another positive note was the impact on attrition when compared with historical trends. Even though only two semesters of co-requisite data are included, there is a noticeable difference in gateway attempts/success when factoring in the lab students. When those students are included in the whole group, the gateway attempt and pass rates are 31%/24%. When these students are excluded, the gateway attempt and pass rates are 26%/20%.


An area of concern is the difference in gateway statistics pass rates for those who took the lab (60%) vs. those not required to take the lab (80%). The assistant dean and math department have discussed three potential causes leading to this difference.

Lab students were allowed to take gateway statistics in an online modality, and approximately one-quarter of lab students took the online course. The pass rate for online lab students was 26% to 74% for face-to-face sections. The college is strongly advising lab students NOT to take the online format and will consider policy to not allow the option pending results of spring grades.


There was not always close coordination between the lab and gateway sections. The college has paired registration for lab and gateway sections. Moreover, the same instructor now teaches both sections, and spring 2017, the courses will be paired to ensure thst students take both courses from the same instructor.

The college changed instructors for the spring online gateway sections based on feedback and evaluations.


The college is implementing two major initiatives that will conceivably allow 60% of students to complete their entire math requirement in one year – even if they place into the lowest developmental level. This compares to a traditional model of 2.5 years in math remediation if the student places at the lowest level.

The college believes these are scaled strategies that will reduce attrition while it implements gateway math for all students – including a high-level transferable statistics course. This is very high stakes especially for the health programs that require completion of all developmental math prior to acceptance into the program. Note that by moving to the transferable statistics course, under the traditional model a fourth developmental level was added (0086). These are health cohort programs starting each fall, so having to complete an additional math level could add an entire year’s wait. Instead, the labs should keep most students on path to complete their developmental requirements in time for the first opportunity for health program acceptance.


ID 15714

To contact this college about this intervention, take note of the ID above, ID #15714, 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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