A Model for Accelerating Academic Success of Community College Remedial English Students: Is the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) Effective and Affordable?

This paper presents the findings from a quantitative analysis of the Community College of Baltimore County’s Accelerated Learning Program (ALP). Under ALP, students placed into upper-level developmental writing are “mainstreamed” into English 101 classes and simultaneously enrolled in a companion ALP course (taught by the same instructor) that meets in the class period immediately following the English 101 class. The aim of the ALP course, which has only eight students, is to help students maximize the likelihood of their success in English 101. Our results suggest that among students who place into the highest level developmental writing course, participating in ALP is associated with substantially better outcomes in terms of English 101 completion and English 102 completion, the two primary outcomes ALP was designed to improve. However, we found no evidence that ALP students’ greater likelihood of completing English 101 and 102 correlates with increased rates of college persistence or passing other college-level courses. Looking at the costs of ALP in relation to our findings on its effects, we found that ALP is a more cost-effective pathway through the required college level English courses than the traditional developmental English sequence as measured by cost per successful student ($2,680 versus $3,122). A rough cost-benefit analysis finds that the benefits of ALP are more than double the costs.

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