Achieving the Dream Following Through on White House Summit Commitments

Hosts first-ever College Readiness Institute; releases Developmental Education Practitioner Briefs in partnership with MDC

Orlando, FL (February 26, 2014) – Today, Achieving the Dream launched new tools to increase college and career readiness at community colleges by hosting the College Readiness Institute and releasing a series of practitioner briefs titled, “Right from the Start.” These actions demonstrate the commitments made by Achieving the Dream at the January 2014 White House Summit on Increasing College Opportunity for Low-Income Students.

The College Readiness Institute comes on the third day of DREAM 2014, the annual institute of the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network, which convenes more than 1,700 community college reform leaders and practitioners. Special workshops will showcase evidence-based practices that reduce the need for developmental education or accelerate students’ progress to and through gateway courses.

“While a significant number of the students walking through the community college front door may not be college-ready, Achieving the Dream and our National Reform Network believe that all students walking through the door are college-material,” said Carol Lincoln, Senior Vice President, Achieving the Dream. “We are focused on ensuring that community college student success is more equitable, beginning with developmental education and continuing through the entire college experience.”

Presenters at the College Readiness Institute represent several community colleges including Patrick Henry Community College and The Community College of Baltimore County as well as prestigious partner organizations such as The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, The Washington Center for Undergraduate Education, and The Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

The College Readiness Institute will emphasize the urgency regarding college preparedness and the workshops will spotlight attention on teaching and learning as critical elements for improving student success. A sampling of these workshops include:

  • Implementing Mathematics Pathways with Statway, Quantway and the New Mathways Project
  • A Window into Accelerated, Integrated Reading and Writing Courses
  • Statistics Pathways in California: Increasing Completion and Closing Achievement Gaps for Underprepared Students in Mathematics
  • Curriculum Redesign: Strategies for Engaging Students, Faculty and Departments

During the College Readiness Institute, participants will have the opportunity to make a commitment to new action to improve student outcomes, similar to those made during the White House Summit on Increasing College Opportunity for Low-Income Students. Participants will commit to adopting policies and practices that support the students who are least prepared for college-level coursework by:

  • Connecting more low-income students to the college that is right for them and ensuring more graduate
  • Increasing the pool of students preparing for college through early interventions
  • Leveling the playing field in college advising and SAT/ACT test preparation
  • Strengthening remediation to help academically underprepared students progress through and complete college

These actions will serve hundreds of thousands of students across the country.

To conclude College Readiness Day and cement the day’s learning, a Spotlight session entitled “Right from the Start” will offer an overview of three developmental education practitioner briefs. The briefs highlight how seven Achieving the Dream Colleges implemented developmental education reform on their campuses and are working to build an environment that recognizes and understands the diverse learning needs of developmental education students; emphasizes teaching and learning; and builds whole-college solutions.

“Colleges can do this,” said David Dodson, president of MDC. “These briefs show that change is never easy in institutions that serve so many functions and play so many roles, but if colleges take into account the nature of their student body and the culture of their institution, they can meet students’ needs no matter where they start and where they want to go.”

Achieving the Dream and MDC developed the Right from the Start series to help practitioners address complex challenges associated with increasing college readiness. The briefs illustrate a variety of approaches for applying current research in developmental education to help colleges adopt or adapt practices that have proven effective at other institutions.

The briefs are designed to help college faculty, leaders, and staff focus broadly on new approaches to teaching and learning that can lead to whole-college solutions for reforming developmental education and for improving equitable access and student success. 

*Read the practitioner briefs here.

Additional commitments that Achieving the Dream made at the White House Summit:

January 2014 Commitments to Action on College Opportunity from The Executive Office of the President

Breakthrough Collaborative
Achieving the Dream, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and Jobs for the Future created a "Breakthrough Collaborative" to address the alarming failure rate of students in post-secondary remedial mathematics or “gateway” courses. Eighty percent of students who place into developmental mathematics do not complete a college-level course within three years. This "Breakthrough Collaborative" consists of colleges willing to collect common data and progress markers to learn together as they implement and improve promising practices that accelerate progression through remediation and gateway courses, including students least ready for college.

Northeast Resiliency Consortium
With this consortium, Achieving the Dream is working in partnership with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and 7 community colleges to create and disseminate nationally, a contextualized alternative math curriculum that accelerates students’ progress through developmental education into pathways that lead to jobs with family sustaining wages in the fields of healthcare, information technology, and environmental technology.

Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 300 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing equity gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with nearly 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 45 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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