English and Reading

Eighteen units of English and Reading coursework were redesigned
into six units of College Success English coursework.

Multiple factors led to the development of this integrated course sequence. First, we noted particularly high persistence and success rates for Fast Track courses (eight-week, accelerated courses) and Learning Communities. In fact, the highest persistence and success rates were found in combined fast track and learning community courses. Second, at the state level, factors such as AB 1440, CB 21, FTES cuts, limits on units to completion, limits on financial aid, and concerns over time to completion were influential in the move towards redesign. Finally, research as part of a faculty’s doctoral study indicated that slowing down the developmental track de-motivates students and results in lower retention and completion rates.

In response to these factors, English and Reading faculty proposed an idea for curriculum redesign and vetted it through all constituency groups in a collaborative effort of faculty, management, staff, and students. This transformational change, which took place during spring 2011 and was accomplished from start to finish in one month, included:
• a curriculum redesign into two English courses that employ an integrated English and reading model
• curriculum committee revisions and approvals on all course outlines
• revisions to board administrative procedure on graduation requirements
• changes in Accuplacer cut scores

The advantages of this realignment are numerous and include: elimination of redundancies in skills development and content, collaboration between English and Reading faculty, increase of basic skills sections taught by full-time faculty, significant reduction of time-to-completion and fewer units for students, reduction of FTES devoted to basic skills, an increase in number of students served in the sequence, fewer units to meet English and Reading competencies, reduced textbook costs because students purchase fewer books, fewer exit points in the English sequence, and more productive use of financial aid. Finally, preliminary data from the first year of the new sequence indicates increased student success, completion, progress, and improvement rates in the English course sequence.