Klamath Community College Moves the Needle on Developmental Education

5/12/2017 12:00:00 AM
Strong partnerships among Klamath Community College, regional high schools, and Southern Oregon communities are producing results. Recent data from KCC shows the percentage of developmental education credits attempted by KCC students fresh out of high school has been slashed by more than half in the past four years.
 
KLAMATH FALLS – Strong partnerships among Klamath Community College, regional high schools, and Southern Oregon communities are producing results. Recent data from KCC shows the percentage of developmental education credits attempted by KCC students fresh out of high school has been slashed by more than half in the past four years.

“For us to cut this in half is extraordinary,” said KCC President Roberto Gutierrez. “But we’re not done yet. If we can continue reducing the amount of developmental education, more of our students will graduate sooner and it will be less costly for them.”

According to KCC Institutional Researcher Bill Jennings, the college has gone from several years of students under age 21 maintaining 23 and 24 percent of attempted credits being developmental education, down to just 11 percent.

Now, Jennings said, more students coming to KCC right out of high school start at college-level math and writing. Students who start below college level – courses classified lower than 100 – are requiring fewer remedial classes.

The decline in developmental education credits means fewer KCC students must repeat courses they took in high school.

“We are saving taxpayers money by reducing the tax dollars needed to support college classes that revisit content taught in high schools,” Gutierrez said.

Students who come to college unprepared often become discouraged because the courses they must take to catch up don't count toward their ultimate objectives, said Scott Perry, former superintendent of Southern Oregon Education Service District.

“When they come prepared, every course and every credit counts toward helping them reach their goals,” Perry said.

Jennings noted that a large part of these results is rooted in regional K-12 partnerships, including Klamath Promise and College Now. High schools have also committed to aligning high school curriculum with college-level courses.

“Lack of student preparation for college is a significant problem for colleges everywhere. The data suggests that KCC, with its partner K-12 school districts are doing things right,” Perry said.

High school students can look beyond a diploma and earn college credit one of three ways: dual credit (approved high school teacher teaching a college class); high school students take online courses or students learn at KCC as part of College Now; and synchronous instruction, in which KCC classes are streamed in real-time to local high schools.

“Every high school in Klamath County and Lake County has students earning college credit from KCC,” Jennings said.
 
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