Community colleges are often touted for their capability to educate students of all ability levels, but often the students who seek community college education are not ready for college-level coursework. In response to this issue, community colleges offer developmental education courses, which are required, noncredit courses for students who score below a certain level on college entrance exams. At Ozarks Technical Community College, developmental education coursework helps prepare students for college-level courses in math, reading and English.
Nationwide, 68 percent of community college students test into developmental education courses. Approximately 53 percent of OTC freshmen placed into at least one developmental course for the 2014–15 school year.
While developmental education programs are crucial to student success, the traditional routes often create obstacles for students. Developmental education courses are not for credit. The courses take additional time to complete and can use up precious financial aid. These factors make it difficult for students to complete developmental education courses and graduation requirements.
To improve completion rates for developmental education students, OTC has implemented an accelerated developmental education program called PASS or Program for Accelerated Student Success. During the 2014–15 school year, OTC offered pilot PASS courses in math, reading and English. PASS courses will be offered again in the fall of 2015.
PASS courses allow students to complete developmental education requirements in one semester instead of two. There are also course opportunities that allow students to combine their developmental education course with an entry-level freshman course. The courses feature smaller class sizes and also allow for more one-on-one time between students and instructors.
“These accelerated courses give students dedicated time in class to work and receive help when they need it,” said Jennifer Dunkel, an English developmental education instructor. “These in-class opportunities are crucial to student success, because they allow students to work through any issues with instructors and in groups.”
In the fall of 2015, OTC will offer the following combined developmental education courses:
- English 099 ― a combination of developmental reading and English.
- PASS English 101 ― a combination of developmental English and first-year English.
- PASS English 102 ― a combination of English 101 and 102, which allows students to complete all English requirements in one semester.
- Math 110-Plus ― a combination of developmental math and first-year math.
For more information about OTC’s new PASS English program, please contact Jennifer Dunkel, OTC English instructor, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Trisha White, mathematics instructor, at email@example.com to learn more about Math 110-Plus.
Students can register for OTC’s fall 2015 semester at otc.edu/register.