Whereas, Recent efforts to accelerate basic skills sequences to help students transition more quickly to college and transfer level work have been receiving significant attention from individuals, official bodies, and other groups inside and outside the California Community College System;
Whereas, Many of the proposals and projects for accelerating basic skills instruction claim initial significant success, but the data used to support such claims are often limited in terms of sample size or are questionable in terms of design and the manner in which these data are compiled;
Whereas, Some of the proposals for accelerating basic skills instruction may include valid pedagogical suggestions, but such proposals and potential curricular modifications should not be implemented until they are scrutinized carefully and evaluated on pedagogical and qualitative grounds not only by local discipline faculty but also by statewide or national discipline organizations such as the English Council of California Two-Year Colleges, the College Reading and Learning Association, and the American Mathematical Association for Two-Year Colleges; and
Whereas, Nearly all proposals and projects regarding acceleration of basic skills instruction require additional funding for aspects of the programs such as expanded counseling, tutoring, and supplemental instructor contact outside of class, and thus the implementation of such programs would likely be delayed, ineffective, and detrimental to students without guarantees of significant additional funding that is unlikely to be provided in the current budget situation;
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges urge local senates and colleges to consider carefully when discussing the acceleration of basic skills instruction, to analyze critically the statistical sufficiency and design methods of the accelerated sequence, and to ensure that discipline faculty consider the qualitative and pedagogical aspects of all such proposals before any such program is implemented; and
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges support data driven and carefully considered pilot studies that meet the educational needs of all community college students, whether these studies involve acceleration or other approaches.
See Accelerating the Academic Achievement of Students Referred to Developmental Education available at http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/Publication.asp?UID=867.
MSC Disposition: Local Senates
Breakouts were held on this topic at numerous events, including the 2012 Curriculum Institute, the 2012 Spring Plenary Session, and other plenary sessions, institutes, and regional curriculum meetings. Several Rostrum articles on the topic have also been published, including "Policy Issues Regarding Alternative Developmental-to-Transfer-level Mathematics Pathways" by Beth Smith and Phil Smith in December 2102, "Acceleration: An Opportunity for Dialogue and Local Innovation" by David Morse and Tom DeWitt in April 2013, and "Alternatives to Traditional Intermediate Algebra" by Ian Walton in July 2013.