MCTC Learning Center Blog

Just another MCTC Blogs site

Two Hands Can Save One: Student Success in Developmental Education

Posted on: April 16th, 2015 by learningws No Comments

I am a tutor at Minneapolis Community & Technical College, and as a part of our Level II CRLA Training we are asked to give a summary and response to a peer-reviewed journal article.  My article is called, “Campus-Based Practices for Promoting Student Success: Developmental Education,” by John G. Asmussen and Aaron S. Horn.

This article was about how developmental education programs and placement testing are assessed throughout long periods of research studies and trials. The purpose of this article was to inform educators and students on the problems on how developmental education programs are run as well as pointing out their inefficient methods. On the bright side, there were some solutions to the problems. These solutions showed promising facts and studies. One problem that caught my attention was under the “Accelerated Models” section; many researchers argued “that development course sequences require too many semesters to complete”(Asmussen and Horn 6). In contrast, “Some colleges adopted accelerated model programs which provides remedial instruction over a shorter period of time” (6). these models consisted of mainstreaming, course compression, and modularization. What didn’t surprise me was the fact that most students who were placed into three or more levels below college-level courses will not continue college past the first year. Wow!

Some strengths on the accelerated models are supplemental support services, course compression, and self-paced programs. Weaknesses showed negative peer effect, persistence, and lack of rigorous research.

In order to achieve effective results I believe that educators should see that even though these accelerated programs are designed for short term goals, I think that programs should expand for longer periods. Also, by implementing longer terms this allows further studies into retention, and annual reports on completion rates to forecast the trends of how effective this method can be for the process of learning.  Also, in the article there were a few other points of practice that can be implemented as well, such as: “ensur[ing] that program requirements reflect the appropriate levels of English language and math skills that students will need to succeed in academic disciplines, occupation contexts, and civic roles” (11).

Lastly, another recommended practice that can ensure student success in developmental education is to “encourage or mandate enrollment in student success courses for students who lack skills needed to adapt to academic, emotional, and social demands of college” (11).

This relates well with my work as a tutor because I work with a lot of developmental education students. Even though my work is designed for the short term, I am trained to assist those types of students with supplemental support services and modularization. Also, my work consists of one-on-one appointments which can focus on key components of the course and the content of the material. I feel as tutors, it is very important that we study these methods so we can apply them towards our work to help out students who have a hard time transitioning from high school to our school’s developmental courses.

–Maceo Jones, former developmental education student and current MCTC Writing Tutor


Works Cited

Asmussen, John G., and Aaron S. Horn. Campus-Based Practices for Promoting Student Success: Developmental Education. Issue brief. Midwestern Higher Education Compact, Sept. 2014. Web. 23 Mar. 2015.


Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply