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Re-Thinking "Remedial" Education in Washington Community & Technical Colleges
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Re-Thinking "Remedial" Education in Washington Community & Technical Colleges


March 2013 presentation to the Washington Student Achievement Council

March 2013 presentation to the Washington Student Achievement Council

Published in Education
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  • Background in educational psychology, intellectual development—taught for several years, first-year students to graduate students, been at the Board for 23 years focused largely on system and policy issues around assessment, teaching and learning, with an emphasis in the last 10 years on math, K-12 alignment, and precollege/developmental/remedial educationMy role is to briefly share a few highlights of our current and ongoing work in 2-year colleges and to suggest a few big themes for you to consider as you explore this issue of “remedial education” as part of your Roadmap work; in my comments you’ll hear echoes of what Gillies has shared, partly because we’ve worked together on projects in this area and partly because her perspectives and our work both are informed by and shape the best national work in this area
  • (reference Bailey recommendations from Gillies slides) Rethink assessmentAbandon dichotomy between developmental and college-ready students for a wide range of students above and below current cutoff scores3. Minimize time necessary to prepare students whose skills are weak for entry into college-level coursesImplemented statewide reciprocity agreement for placement.Using multiple assessment measures.Decreasing developmental course sequences.Using accelerated models of instruction - Developmental I-BEST New Accelerated Outcomes-contextual modelSelf-paced modulesInverted classrooms
  • 3-year grant, 2009-2012, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (also included Open Course Library work and funding support for Student Achievement Initiative)Hyperlink to relevant web site under titles: 7 core colleges involved in RPM:Clark,Everett,Highline,Lower Columbia,North Seattle,Northwest Indian College,Spokane Falls10 in dev ed I-BEST:Bellingham, Lake Washington, Clover Park, Highline, Grays Harbor, Lower Columbia, Shoreline, Walla Walla, Tacoma, Whatcom
  • What happens in the classroom is critical (referenceTinto quote)By “courses” I mean course content, curricular structuresBy “classrooms,” I mean what Richard Elmore has called “the core of educational practice,” framed in RPM as 3 big questions:What math do we teach, and why? (content)How do we teach that math? (pedagogy)How do we know how well students have learned that math? (assessment)3. “going to scale” deep and lasting change…”beyond surface structures or procedures …to alter teachers’ beliefs, norms of social interaction, and pedagogical principles as enacted in curriculum.” Cynthia Coburn, 2003. “Rethinking Scale: Moving Beyond Numbers to Deep and Lasting Change”Making room for and learning to teach inquiry Inducting students into inquiry practicesDeveloping student attributesAligning assessments with outcomes and pedagogyTeaching isn't telling Sense-making and a supported inquiry process leads to ownership of material and lasting learningInquiry learning changes knowledge, skills and identity
  • Our understanding of learning will accelerate faster in a teaching community that acts like a learning system…Diane Laurillard, “Open Teaching: The Key to Sustainable and Effective Open Education”Departmental Transformations (RPM):Shared understanding that teaching is complicated Colleagues are resource for improving teachingInquiry to improve teaching is ongoingSome recommendations from dev ed I-BEST:Contextualizing skills instruction in relevant contexts for students.Supporting co-teaching experiences.Ongoing professional development, including professional development for adjunct faculty. Taking an outcomes-based educational pathway approach to curricular redesign
  • “The question is not just ‘what does your machine produce,’ but ‘how does your garden grow’?” Michael Scriven, “Thoughts on Educational Evaluation,” 1972Sir Ken Robinson TED Talk re agriculture vs. factory metaphor for education (hyperlink on slide)Student Achievement Initiative useful and impressive as far as it goes, and its focus on student progress through the system is critical—but the data needs to be the start of a conversation, not the end—over the next 10 years we need deeper qualitative explorations about understanding the conditions of the educational ecosystem that will improve student achievement and learning


  • 1. Re-Thinking “Remediation” in Washington Community & Technical Colleges: What We’re Doing, What We’re Learning Dr. William S. MooreWashington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges 360-704-4346, bmoore@sbctc.edu
  • 2. What We’re Doing • Better K-12 alignment Acceleration Direct to • Better Strategies for placement College assessment process College-Level • Linked Success Co- courses • “Just-in- Enrollment time” support • Contextual Targeted learning • Modules & Content pathways
  • 3. What We’re Learning Student Completion Initiative Re-Thinking I-BEST Precollege Math Pathways Project
  • 4. ChangingClassrooms,Not JustCourses
  • 5. Professional Learningas “Open SourceTeaching”
  • 6. “…How does your gardengrow?”