New position paper examines how adaptive learning technology can bridge the education gap between high school graduation and college-readiness, Education gap is clear - Every two out of five students entering college require remediation
Exposing the remedial education crisis in the United States, experts from McGraw-Hill Higher Education and the Ohio Board of Regents have issued a new position paper, "The Tipping Point in Developmental Education: Harnessing the power of adaptive learning technology in higher education to bridge remedial education gaps and help increase college affordability, efficiency and completion." The paper examines how and why an alarming number of students are entering colleges and universities ill-equipped for the challenges ahead, and offers solutions for creating a developmental education system that accelerates and increase rates of college completion.
The paper, co-authored by Darlene McCoy, associate vice chancellor, affordability and efficiency, Ohio Board of Regents, and Beth Mejia, executive director, developmental education, McGraw-Hill Education, finds that combating high rates of remediation and the pervasive need for developmental education in this country requires cooperative, innovative and immediate action on the part of high schools, universities, policymakers, educational service providers, and state education advisory boards such as the Ohio Board of Regents.
"It's clear that our current developmental education system isn't working. Despite remediation efforts, the number of students dropping out during their first year of college continues to rise," notes McCoy. "Half of all community college students do not come back for their second year, while as many as 28 percent of freshmen at four-year institutions do not return after their freshman year. The stakes are even higher for first-generation college goers, who represent about one third of the college freshmen population."
The paper outlines a new vision for developmental education that uses accelerated, adaptive, technology-enabled and skills-based developmental education programs designed specifically for underprepared students entering or returning to college to improve educational outcomes, including:
- Increased retention and completion rates;
- A more accelerated and efficient process for students bound for college; and
- Substantial cost savings for students and institutions of higher learning.
"We believe that incorporating more effective technology in developmental education is a critical component in transforming it," says Mejia. "In a developmental education classroom, personalized learning and accelerated course completion empowered by technology is transformative. When students learn at their own pace, they can complete courses at an accelerated rate."
To illustrate this vision, McCoy and Mejia discuss results from the Bridging to College Success pilot, a first-of-its kind program developed by McGraw-Hill Education and the Ohio Board of Regents and piloted at six Ohio campuses. The program coupled adaptive learning tools with a mix of in-person and online instruction so that participants would enter college on-pace with their peers, and would be more likely to graduate. The successful pilot program graduated several hundred students who are now enrolled in four- and two-year colleges with the skills they need to succeed. Those graduates were able to avoid spending additional money and time completing the developmental courses that are required to begin college level work. In fact, more than nine out of 10 participants said they were more prepared to be successful in their next math class as a result of completing this program.
The paper emphasizes the importance of solving the remedial education crisis by showing that a solution to this crisis will help ensure the nation's ability to compete globally. With 60 percent of jobs in the U.S. projected to require a postsecondary education by 2018 and numerous studies pointing to the significantly higher earning potential and employability of college graduates, America's strength in the global economy does, in many ways, hinge on the nation's ability to educate and train a highly skilled, highly competitive workforce with 21st century skills.
"This situation exposes the subtle but important distinction between students being 'college eligible' and truly 'college ready'," notes Mejia. "An increase in college readiness not only benefits students, but also the colleges which have a vested interest in ensuring greater levels of student engagement, retention, and on-time completion. Ultimately, this will influence the economic standing of our nation by creating a more educated workforce."