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Access at Crossroads: Learning Assistance in Higher Ed., D. Arendale   Click this web link to learn about my recent book

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     Access at the Crossroads Blog

    These blog entires identify best practices to increase success for historically-underrepresented college students including excerpts from my book, Access at the CrossroadsClick here to subscribe to this blog.

    Wednesday
    Jul202016

    Annual Scope of Learning Assistance (Part Four)

     The following is an excerpt from my book, Learning Assistance at the Crossroads.  More information about obtaining a copy of the book is provided in the upper left-hand column.  It may already be in your school library.

    About 20 percent of institutions provide developmental courses and non­credit workshops for local business and industry. Two-year institutions are ten times more likely to offer these services than their four-year counterparts (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003). About 50 percent of two-year colleges offer these services, compared with only about 5 percent of other types of institutions. Of the institutions that provide services to local business and industry, the most popular are in mathematics, followed by reading and writing (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003). Although course objectives and content are similar, these courses are repackaged for the business commu­nity, when they are often called professional development and job readiness workshops. For example, a Fundamentals of English course might be called a business communications workshop, and a Fundamentals of Reading course might be repackaged as power reading. Commonly these workshops and courses are offered at the business site (89 percent) and to a lesser extent on the institution’s campus (74 percent) (National Center for Education Statistics, 1985, 1991, 1996, 2003; Lederman, Ryzewic, and Ribaudo, 1983; Wright and Cahalan, 1985).

    Monday
    Jul182016

    Annual Scope of Learning Assistance (Part Three)

    The following is an excerpt from my book, Learning Assistance at the Crossroads.  More information about obtaining a copy of the book is provided in the upper left-hand column.  It may already be in your school library.

    About 30 percent of first-time, first-year students enrolled in one or more developmental reading, writing, or mathematics courses since the 1980s. This rate rises to 40 percent of students who are the first in their family to attend col­lege (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003, 2005). For the past two decades, 600,000 to 700,000 first-year students enrolled annually in such courses. As a result of the research protocols used by the federal government for these stud­ies, the data do not include sophomores, juniors, seniors, or graduate students who enroll in remedial or developmental courses; students who participate in noncredit academic enrichment activities such as tutoring, group study review groups, learning strategy workshops, or similar activities; and students of any clas­sification who enroll in remedial or developmental courses in science or study strategies. Therefore, it is reasonable to estimate the number of students access­ing credit and noncredit services at 2 million annually (Boylan, 1999).

    The following finding comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s study focusing primarily on developmental courses (National Center for Edu­cation Statistics, 2003). Of students enrolling in these courses, three-quarters successfully complete them. Most students enroll in developmental courses during only one academic term. Students are twice as likely to enroll in the courses at two-year institutions than in four-year colleges and universities. About three-quarters of institutions offer only institutional credit for the courses, while others offer graduation credit. In these cases, the credit counts as a free elective. About three-quarters of institutions require students to enroll in remedial or developmental courses based on their entry-level test scores. This percentage has increased during the 1990s. About two-thirds of institutions restrict concurrent enrollment in graduation-credit courses and developmen­tal courses. Nearly a quarter of institutions establish a time limit for success­fully completing these courses. A traditional academic unit such as the English or mathematics department is the most frequent provider of developmental courses, with a separate developmental department following in frequency. Learning centers are less frequently used, though the percentage has grown.

    Friday
    Jul152016

    Annual Scope of Learning Assistance (Part Two)

    The following is an excerpt from my book, Learning Assistance at the Crossroads.  More information about obtaining a copy of the book is provided in the upper left-hand column.  It may already be in your school library.

    Understanding the scope of learning assistance throughout the United States requires careful review of national studies of enrollment patterns in developmental courses, participation in noncredit activities, and institutional and state policies affecting learning assistance activities. Table 1 focuses on one element of learning assistance, developmental courses in reading, mathematics, or writing. No uniform state or national reporting systems exist for noncredit services such as tutoring and attendance in learning centers (explored later in this report). The terms “remedial” and “developmental” course are used inter­changeably in this section.

    Learning assistance often expresses itself differently among various institutional types: two-year and four-year, public and private. The services also appear differently in these categories among institutions of differing admissions selectivity. Although noncredit services such as tutoring and learning centers are commonly found among institutions, the provision of developmental courses is more commonly found at two-year institutions. Many institutions, however, provide both credit and noncredit services.

    Many students who enroll in postsecondary education participate in learn­ing assistance activities in one form or another. Boylan (1999) confirms that nearly 2 million of the 12 million students enrolling in U.S. postsecondary education enroll in a developmental course or participate in other noncredit services such as tutoring or use of a learning center. Because 600,000 to 700,000 students enroll in the courses, more than 1 million students access noncredit services such as tutoring and learning assistance centers (Boylan, 1999; National Center for Education Statistics, 2003). For the past twenty years, nearly three-quarters of higher education institutions enrolling first-year students have offered at least one developmental reading, writing, or mathe­matics course. Although four-year research institutions decreased course offer­ings in this area during the 1990s (Barefoot, 2003), most institutions showed little overall significant change (National Center for Education Statistics, 1991, 1996, 2003). Offerings vary widely among institutional types. The highest percentage offering such courses are public two-year colleges (98 percent), fol­lowed by public four-year (80 percent), private two-year (63 percent), and pri­vate four-year (59 percent) (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003).

    Wednesday
    Jul132016

    Annual Scope of Learning Assistance (Part One)

    The following is an excerpt from my book, Learning Assistance at the Crossroads.  More information about obtaining a copy of the book is provided in the upper left-hand column.  It may already be in your school library.

    It is difficult to estimate the total number of college students who use learn­ing assistance annually. Depending on the institution, learning assistance activ­ities may include enrolling in remedial or developmental credit-bearing courses as well as attending noncredit activities such as tutoring, using learning assis­tance center resources, or attending a study strategies workshop. Because this chapter focuses on contemporary uses of learning assistance, it emphasizes stu­dents who are academically underprepared in one or more academic content areas. This report, however, also includes case studies of learning assistance use by students who do not fit that profile. These students have used it to enrich their learning and support them with rigorous coursework in graduate and professional schools. These enrichment and noncredit learning assistance ser­vices expand the number of students participating beyond the one-third of all entering college students enrolling in a developmental course (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003). Rather than counting the number of noncredit users of learning assistance services such as learning assistance cen­ters and tutoring, the national studies report the high percentage of institu­tions that offer these services (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003). As described earlier, the reasons for the use of learning assistance become more complicated when the same student accesses learning assistance in one class because of academic difficulty, uses a different set of learning assistance ser­vices in another to supplement his or her learning, and uses none in other courses during the same or subsequent academic terms. As stated earlier, the use of learning assistance is based on the need presented by the academic course and not necessarily an attribute of overall academic weakness by the individual student.

    Some institutions enroll a high percentage of students who are academi­cally underprepared in one or more academic content areas yet graduate them at high rates. The Community College of Denver, through the Center for Educational Advancement (http://www.ccd.edu/LAA/LAAcea.html), provides a comprehensive array of learning assistance services. Accurate assessment and course placement are essential, as most students enroll in one or more devel­opmental courses. Compared with other Colorado community colleges, this institution has the highest number and percentage of students enrolling in these courses. Students completing these required developmental courses grad­uate at a higher rate from college than students who were admitted and advised not to enroll in developmental courses. Comprehensive learning assistance ser­vices enable the institution to broaden access for students with a wider range of academic skills and achieve a high rate of timely graduation for all.

    Friday
    Jun032016

    Speech and language therapy students' experience of Peer Assisted Learning: Undergraduates investigate PAL as a means of enhancing academic and professional development

    Guyon, A., Butterfint, Z., Lacy, A., Sanosi, A., Sheridan, K., & Unwin, J. (2015). Speech and language therapy students' experience of Peer Assisted Learning: Undergraduates investigate PAL as a means of enhancing academic and professional development. Journal of Learning. Retrieved from https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/55820/1/PAL_Project_FINAL.pdf

    The implementation of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) on healthcare courses in Higher Education Institutions has been explored in a number of studies. This paper presents research into the experience of PAL on a BSc Speech & Language Therapy (SLT) programme. The research was conducted by final year undergraduate SLTstudents to form the basis for their final dissertations. The focus for their research was on the effects of PAL on academic and professional development for both mentees and mentors on the same course. Data were generated from standard PAL evaluations and focus roups. Findings indicate that mentees benefit from PAL in terms of their university experience and learning. Mentors benefited from opportunities to develop and practice skills for their future employment. Engagement with PAL is attributed toits structured yet informal nature and the enthusiasm of the mentors. However, the collaborative nature of PAL take  time to develop, impacting on the behaviours of both mentees and mentors. Overall PAL offers mentees and mentors opportunities which enhance their academic learning and professional development.

    To download the complete annotated bibliography of more than 1,100 citations of postsecondary peer cooperative learning programs, click on the following link, http://z.umn.edu/peerbib

    Wednesday
    Jun012016

    Developing student mentor self-regulation skills through formative feedback: Rubric development phase

    Hammill, J., Best, G., & Anderson, J. (2015). Developing student mentor self-regulation skills through formative feedback: Rubric development phase. Journal of Peer Learning, 8(1), 48-58. Retrieved from http://ro.uow.edu.au/ajpl/vol8/iss1/6/

    Research into Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) in Higher Education has largely focused on the positive effects of PASS on student motivation, retention and engagement. Less attention has been given to the cognitive, affective and professional development of the PASS Student Mentors through their engagement with students and academic staff. At Victoria University learning and development for Student Mentors begins at training and continues during the semester, supported by several methods of formative feedback: weekly reflective posts through an online platform, weekly development workshops, observations, progress interviews, and evaluations. Despite ongoing training and development throughout the semester, PASS supervisors have observed that some Student Mentors do not have a clear understanding of the role expectations. This paper describes the processes undertaken to develop a rubric that clarifies PASS facilitation objectives for Student Mentors and their PASS supervisors.

    To download the complete annotated bibliography of more than 1,100 citations of postsecondary peer cooperative learning programs, click on the following link, http://z.umn.edu/peerbib

    Monday
    May302016

    Current Scope of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education

    The following excerpt is from my monograph, Access at the Crossroads.  This new series of blog posts will focus on the current nature and scope of learning assistance.  For more information about my monograph, click on the box in the left column.

    OSTSECONDARY EDUCATION VARIES GREATLY with its expres­sion among institutions through admission policies, curriculum design, learning systems, and student expectations. The variability of U.S. education reflects local governance with different regulations from state and national gov­ernment. Autonomy and local control explain the highly varied expression of learning assistance on college campuses. This chapter explores learning assis­tance as it operates today.

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