Dana Center Helps Launch Co-Requisites in California

The Pacific Highway 101With numerous high-profile news items helping to tell the story, co-requisite education has made a considerable splash in California. Following the August 2 release of Executive Order 1110, the California State University (CSU)—the largest 4-year public university system in the United States—will adopt a co-requisite model for the delivery of developmental education beginning in Fall 2018.

Last week, approximately 200 attendees met in Los Angeles for the CSU’s Co-Requisite Mathematics Summit. Representatives from all 23 CSU campuses discussed the strategies and best practices necessary to implement and deliver effective co-requisite courses. The Summit featured a team of the Charles A. Dana Center’s experienced leaders in implementation and curriculum development. The team shared data, led structured facilitated discussions, and guided campus stakeholders in creating co-requisite mathematics programs at scale that are customized to their individual institutional needs and contexts.

Co-requisite models are a growing national trend intended to improve outcomes in developmental education. In this approach, incoming students who have been assessed as academically underprepared are no longer placed in a series of “remedial” courses that do not count for college-level credit. Data strongly suggest that long developmental course sequences are a leading factor in student attrition. Co-requisite models aim to meet this challenge by placing underperforming students immediately into credit-bearing classes while simultaneously providing them rigorous, “just in time” support designed to bring academic skills to the required levels. The Dana Center recommends that these supports include instruction on growth mindsets, student learner strategies, and other non-cognitive factors in order to offer students increased opportunities for success.

According to the CSU press release on the Executive Order: “’The California State University is committed to helping all students admitted to a CSU campus achieve their academic goals by allowing them to earn college credit beginning their very first day of class,’ said CSU’s Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Loren Blanchard. ‘This suite of changes maintains the quality and rigor of the CSU while enabling tens of thousands of students to get needed academic support while progressing toward their degree.’”

The Dana Center Mathematics Pathways team has assisted in the development and implementation of co-requisite mathematics programs in West Virginia, Texas, and—through collaborations with Complete College America—several other states. Dana Center staff and facilitators used this on-the-ground implementation experience to provide critical guidance to the CSU’s stakeholders in their efforts.

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