Replicating the Accelerated Learning Program: Updated Findings

ALP was developed to address the low success rates of developmental writing students at CCBC by creating small cohorts of developmental students coenrolled in the college-level composition course along with a companion course taught by the same instructor. Several quantitative studies have demonstrated improved outcomes for ALP students at CCBC compared to students who took the traditional sequence of developmental writing. 

In 2013, the Center for Applied Research conducted a study designed to begin exploring ALP replication. This year-long study was conducted in three phases: an inventory of accelerated learning programs around the country, a look at student outcome data from a sample of seven colleges, and a qualitative case study of ALP implementation at two colleges. This study revealed that ALP is being implemented at colleges that are very different from CCBC in terms of geographic location, demographics, and developmental education structures. It also demonstrated that colleges that implement ALP have shown improved student outcomes, including higher success rates in ENG 101. Finally, the case study of two colleges that have replicated ALP showed that, although there were differences compared to ALP at CCBC in the focus of classroom activities and how the ALP course was used to support the ENG 101 course, they shared many commonalities, especially a focus on building a supportive community of learners. However, there were some definite limitations to this study, particularly the newness of many of the ALPs which resulted in very limited data to analyze. 

Consequently, this continuation study was conducted to build upon these preliminary findings.  In the previous study, the three phases occurred largely in a sequence, with college-level information first being gathered by the inventory, those responses being used to select seven colleges to study in greater detail, and then the case study of two colleges occurring last. 

In this updated study, the three phases took place concurrently. For Phase 1, the national inventory was revised slightly and information was solicited from a larger pool of colleges known or thought to have implemented ALP. In Phase 2, the seven colleges were narrowed down to four colleges. Finally, for Phase 3, a case study of ALP at North Arkansas College was conducted to explore the unique situation of a college that chose to commit completely to ALP, so that all students who previously would have taken the upper-level developmental writing course now are placed into ALP. One chapter of this report is devoted to each phase, followed by a conclusion that raises questions about future areas of study. It is hoped that the information will be useful to colleges considering or in the early stages of implementing ALP. 

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