Policy Roundtable Addresses PA 12-40 College Readiness and Completion
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Policy Roundtable Addresses PA 12-40 College Readiness and Completion

The Policy Roundtable Discussion on Public Act No. 12-40 - An Act Concerning College Readiness and Completion, was co-sponsored by two centers in the Institute for Translational Research and organized by the center directors: Kenny Nienhusser, Center for Learning and Professional Education, and Diana LaRocco, Center for Health and Education Policy. The event took place at the University of Hartford on July 25, 2013. Nienhusser introduced the panel to an audience of education leaders from across the state:
  • Merle W. Harris, Ph.D., Chair, Academic and Student Affairs Committee, Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education

  • Braden J. Hosch, Ph.D., Director of Policy and Research, Interim Director of Academic Affairs, Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education

  • Kathy K. Taylor, Esq., Acting Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Naugatuck Valley Community College

In Connecticut, approximately 2/3 of full-time students entering community college need remedial education to assist them with obtaining a college-entrance level of knowledge in math and English. However, only 8% of the students taking remedial courses are graduating (i.e., receiving a credential) within 3 years. These statistics indicate that existing remedial education measures are not successful or effective for translating into workplace readiness and educational attainment.

Public Act 12-40 has three major components:

  • To redefine the delivery of remedial education by placing students in one of three tiers of course work at the community college and state university level. These levels are described as college-level, college-level with embedded support, and Intensive College Readiness Program (or, alternatively, one semester of a remedial course). The purpose of these three tiers is to better guide students through effective remedial education programs without sacrificing course and curriculum time.

  • To place students in these levels will be determined through multiple measures, including SAT scores, GPAs, high school transcript data, essay placements, and/or alternative assessment instruments.

  • To align public high school curriculums with Common Core State Standards to assure college readiness.

There is a substantial financial investment required to implement the act by the fall of 2014. Moreover, meaningful metrics to evaluate the success of the new remedial education models introduced are not fully developed, and long-term data on the success of the act will require additional resources to track and analyze. However, as Harris stated, “We want students to spend time and money earning college credits instead of taking remedial courses that don’t count towards graduate requirements.” Moreover, the act is designed to encourage the state educational entities to produce college graduates with the necessary skills to compete in the local, state, national, and international workforce.

Emphasis is also placed on public high schools to identify students who are behind at an earlier point in time. Therefore, students will be assessed for potential college readiness in 8th and 10th grades. In addition, the high school curriculum in math and English will be aligned with Common Core State Standards, and certain priority school districts will be encouraged to redesign 12th grade math and English courses so that they better align with entry-level college courses. These measures will potentially encourage a smoother transition from high school to college.