Developmental English Reform

As African American and Latino students are overrepresented in developmental English and experience inequitable outcomes in degree attainment, Developmental English Reform is critical to achieving racial and ethnic equity in educational outcomes. Since 2013, the College has implemented a number of reform initiatives designed to increase college readiness and accelerate progression through Developmental and Gateway College English. These reforms have contributed to an increase of 9.2 percentage points in successful completion of Gateway College English within three years, from 40.9 percent for the 2012-2013 ATD cohort to 50.1 percent for the 2013-2014 ATD cohort. Notably, African American and Latino students were more likely to complete gateway College English within three years than their White peers. Pell recipients outperformed non-Pell students and there was no notable gap between male and female students. (See Gateway English Completion data submitted via pdf).

Accelerated English

In 2016-2017, Bunker Hill Community College’s English Department scaled its co-requisite, accelerated English model to serve up to 700 students per year. Launched in spring 2013, the model compresses the highest level of developmental English (ENG095) and the first level of College English (ENG111) into a single semester Accelerated English Learning Community Cluster. By the end of the fall 2016 term, a total of 1,308 students had enrolled in an Accelerated English Cluster. For each of the five semesters between spring 2013 and fall 2016, there was a different of at least 40 percentage points in successful course completion between students who completed the Accelerated English Cluster in one semester and students who took the courses in stand-alone format over two consecutive semesters (See English Acceleration versus Non Acceleration data submitted via pdf).

ELA Curricular Alignment

From 2013 to 2017, the English Department engaged with English Language Arts (ELA) and English Language Learning (ELL) teachers from seven sending high schools and three community based organizations (CBOs) to create direct pathways to credit-bearing College English (ENG111). Three Boston Public High Schools (Community Academy of Science and Health, Charlestown High School, and Edward M. Kennedy High School) and Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School have aligned the ELA curriculum starting in ninth grade to prepare students to take credit-bearing English during their junior or senior year. At the Cambridge Community Learning Center, qualified Learning Center staff are teaching the Accelerated English model onsite, while faculty are collaborating with the Asian American Civic Association and College Bound Dorchester to prepare students graduating from their programs for direct entry into credit-bearing College English (ENG111).

Multiple Measures

In 2016-2017, the English Department took on the task of reforming intake assessment, particularly how students are placed into English courses. The Department is moving away from a reliance on the College Board Accuplacer Reading and English Sentence Skills Tests to a multiple measures approach. After completing a GPA pilot study, the Department determined that incoming students with a GPA of 2.7 up to three years out of high school should be placed directly into credit-bearing English and exempt from Accuplacer testing. All other students will complete a Writeplacer essay, a task that more closely reflects what we do in our English courses than the current English Sentence Skills Test. Students with a Writeplacer score of 5 or higher on an 8-point scale will be placed directly into credit-bearing College English (ENG111). A smaller number of students will then take the Accuplacer Reading Test to help determine best placement either into an accelerated or integrated model. The Department believes that using GPA, Writeplacer, and a lower reliance on the Accuplacer Reading Test will result in more accurate placement.

English/ESL Alignment

The English and ESL Departments are collaborating to create pathways for ESL students to go directly into credit-bearing English instead of taking developmental English classes. In 2016-2017, an acceleration process for English Language Learners (ELLs) was implemented whereby ESL instructors submit a student essay that is holistically scored by an ENG/ESL faculty acceleration committee. This process has already improved the percentage of ELLs moving from the highest level of ESL directly into credit bearing College English (ENG111) from less than 5 percent to 30 percent. ESL and English Department faculty are in the process of aligning outcomes and assessments for the highest level of developmental English (ENG 095) with the highest level of ESL (ESL 099) so that students move from ESL directly into credit-bearing College English (ENG111).

Integrated Reading and Writing

The English Department has offered Integrated Reading and Writing Clusters for a number of years. In fall 2017, the Department expanded offerings to include nine Integrated Reading and Writing Clusters with the purpose of moving students into credit-bearing College English (ENG111) after one semester no matter their level of entry. The integrated model follows the Learning Community Cluster approach, with theme-based learning, a student-centered focus, acceleration, and an emphasis on essay-based literacy. Students enrolled in integrated English clusters will take a revised integrated reading and writing exit assessment with the opportunity to progress directly to ENG111 regardless of point of entry. Once proof of concept is established and the approach refined, the English Department plans to scale the integrated model.

ID 16758

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