Access at the Crossroads Book Information

Arendale, D. (2010). Access at the Crossroads: Learning Assistance in Higher Education: ASHE Higher Education Report, Volume 35, Number 6. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. ISBN: 978-0-470-64424-9. $29.00 Paperback. 152 pages.

Winner of the 2011 Hunter R. Boylan Outstanding Research/ Publication Award. This competitive award, presented by the National Association of Developmental Education, recognizes significant research and scholarly contributions through its impact upon the field of developmental education and recognition of significance by experts in the field. This award honors Dr. Hunter Boylan’s lifetime contribution of research and scholarly publications in the field of developmental education. Boylan is Executive Director of the National Center for Developmental Education and Professor of Higher Education at the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University (NC). 

Book Summary: Learning assistance operates at the institution's crossroads where academic affairs, student affairs, and enrollment management converge. This report investigates the effectiveness of learning assistance for supporting: (a) academic affairs with better-prepared students for academically rigorous courses, (b) student affairs achieving higher student development outcomes, and (c) enrollment management programs increasing persistence rates. This report explores difficult questions confronting learning assistance:

  • What is the obligation of colleges for providing assistance for its students?

  • Is learning assistance a civil rights issue for historically underrepresented students attending postsecondary education?

  • What is the history of learning assistance for serving previous generations of students, even at the most prestigious public and private institutions in the United States?

  • Are learning assistance needs better met by high schools and two-year institutions?

  • Do learning assistance activities benefit the postsecondary institution and society?

Although it has a presence in most postsecondary institutions, the expression of learning assistance is quite diverse through credit and noncredit activities. The preferred term used in this report is "learning assistance," because it is commonly used and most inclusive of the various approaches and activities of the field.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary.




Current Challenges and Controversies for Learning Assistance.

  • Lack of Knowledge About the History of Learning Assistance.

  • Challenges of Shifting Perceptions and Values.

  • Financial Challenges for Learning Assistance.

  • Summary.

History of Learning Assistance in U.S. Postsecondary Education.

  • Phase One: 1600s to 1820s.

  • Phase Two: 1830s to 1860s.

  • Phase Three: 1870s to Mid-1940s.

  • Phase Four: Mid-1940s to 1970s.

  • Phase Five: 1970s to Mid-1990s.

  • Phase Six: Mid-1990s to the Present.

  • Summary.

The Current Nature and Scope of Learning Assistance.

  • Annual Scope of Learning Assistance.

  • Cost Estimates for Providing Learning Assistance.

  • Approaches to and Systems of Learning Assistance.

  • The Institution’s Requirements for Change.

  • Summary.

Best Practices and Models in Learning Assistance.

  • Educational Theories and Pedagogies.

  • Evidence-Based Best Practices.

  • Categories of Best Practices.

The Future of the Field.

  • Recommendations for Future Research.

  • Recommendations for Change.

  • Summary.


Name Index.

Subject Index.

About the Author.