The Reading Apprenticeship (RA) intervention began in the Fall of 2012, with intervention leaders providing professional development and peer support opportunities for the first faculty cohort. These faculty members began integrating RA into their classes (e.g., pre-college Science, Reading, and English; college-level Biology, English, Communications, and Psychology) during the winter and spring quarters of the 2012-2013 academic year, and in 2013-15, four additional RA faculty cohorts were formed. To date, approximately 55 faculty and staff members, including all precollege English and nearly all precollege and college math faculty, have or are being trained in RA instructional framework and routines. Participants in the intervention have included BTC tutors, library and eLearning support staff, and Whatcom Literacy Council staff members, who are co-located on the BTC campus. College leaders in RA are participating in the recently-developed Reading Apprenticeship Washington Project, which has a state website (http://raprojectwa.org) highlighting BTC RA leaders and BTC as a state institutional leader in this area. BTC RA intervention leaders and participants hosted a regional RA conference in 2014 that included BTC’s nursing faculty, and several of BTC’s RA faculty helped coordinate and/or presented at the regional RA conference hosted at Renton Technical College in 2015. Also in Spring 2015, BTC’s RA intervention lead and an RA leader from Renton Technical College developed and presented a training for the Washington Corrections Educators Association. They are scheduled to do RA trainings at six additional locations across the state beginning this summer 2015 and through the next academic year.
This intervention has received excellent reviews from faculty and students, and BTC is continuing to solidify its reputation as a statewide RA leader. Moving forward, BTC’s RA intervention leads plan to continue state leadership work, including creating an instructional website focusing on ‘grab & go’ resources for RA instructors and developing common Washington State learning objectives for RA. RA intervention leads are planning to develop training cohorts on the BTC campus that focus on how RA methodology can be used in online or hybrid instructional environments and continue targeting faculty in high-attrition programs such as Nursing. Leaders will continue to step up communication and marketing efforts for this intervention, highlighting RA successes and developments at campus staff and faculty events and meetings.
While the target population for this intervention has been pre-college (developmental) and gateway courses with low success rates (<80%), instructors outside of these areas have also begun implementing RA in their classrooms. Between spring 2014 and winter 2015, a total of 1,122 students enrolled in 35 different Reading Apprenticeship (RA) courses. Although implementation of this initiative has been widespread across departments, the greatest improvements in success rates have been in developmental reading and writing, along with our college success course. Examples of improved success for courses that have had extensive RA participation are included in the data submission.
In addition to course success, we have seen recent increases in the percent of developmental reading (RDG 85) students who attempt and complete college level English. In 2013-14, 63% of first time RDG 85 students attempted college level English within six quarters, which represents a 19 point increase from the prior year. Similarly, 44% of first time RDG 85 students successfully completed college English in six quarters, an increase of 13 points from the prior year.
RA faculty participated in a focus group discussion during Winter 2015 that explored how RA practices shift the classroom environment, student learning and development, and their own professional/personal experience at BTC. Faculty described the RA classroom environment as including, for example, constant peer interaction, a deliberate reworking of faculty and student roles, and a shift from artificial to “real life” content. They described RA as fundamentally changing the nature of the course so that both content and evaluation are more rigorous and meaningful. Student learning and development outcomes observed by RA faculty include improved comfort with and comprehension of scientific material and research processes, problem-solving, and critical thinking, as well as increased course success rates. Finally, faculty reported that RA not only provides them with an effective framework through which to think about teaching and learning, but has also led to enhanced faculty interaction and sharing of best practices.
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