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Godwin reported progress at White House summit

Thursday, August 14, 2014

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Patrick Henry Community College had significant progress to report Tuesday at a White House summit focused on college and career readiness, PHCC President Angeline Godwin said.

Community college leaders from throughout the country spent a good part of the Tuesday meeting with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, White House Domestic Policy Director Cecilia Munoz and other White House staff, Godwin said Wednesday.

“It was a powerful conversation,” she said.

According to a White House document, the summit was “a day devoted to strengthening college readiness and exploring effective strategies to improve success for students in need of developmental education, with leading practitioners, researchers and higher education leaders.”

One aspect of the summit was for colleges to give updates on commitments they made at a White House summit in January to increase college opportunity for all. Godwin also attended that summit.

“One of the key areas of focus for PHCC has been Gateway English and math courses as these classes indicate completion of developmental education as well as access to higher-level college courses (thus, the term ‘Gateway’),” states a document PHCC submitted for the summit.

Since June 2007, the Gateway math completion rates within three years increased by 44 percent (from 9 percent to 13 percent) among black students, by 36 percent (from 19 percent to 26 percent) among white students, by 18 percent (from 17 percent to 20 percent) among female students, by 35 percent (from 17 percent to 23 percent) among male students, by 43 percent (from 14 percent to 20 percent) among non-Pell students and by 16 percent (from 19 percent to 22 percent) among Pell students. That refers to low-income students who qualify for federal Pell grants.

“As seen above, the greatest increase was in the area of African-American students. Of particular note is the fact that low-income students are out-performing higher-income counterparts,” the report states.

Since June 2007, Gateway English completion rates within three years increased by 48 percent (from 23 percent to 34 percent) among black students, by 11 percent (from 35 percent to 39 percent) among white students, by 3 percent (from 35 percent to 36 percent) among female students, by 48 percent (from 25 percent to 37 percent) among male students, by 17 percent (from 23 percent to 27 percent) among non-Pell students and by 11 percent (from 36 percent to 40 percent) among Pell students.

In response to the questions, “What are the key challenges (other than resources) your college has experienced or anticipates experiencing as you seek to reduce the need for remediation and/or accelerate students’ progress through remediation and Gateway courses?,” and “What steps have you taken and/or will you plan to take in response to those challenges,” PHCC responded:

• Challenge: high school students completing math requirements early in their high school career and not taking any math during their senior year and sometimes junior year of high school. Consequently, they often place lower than necessary.

Action: Virginia Placement Testing of all 10th-graders to assess college readiness and determine plan of action (especially for math) for all students.

• Challenge: Lack of student familiarity with the Virginia Placement Test (VPT), which determines the placement for all students.

Action: creation of VPT practice courses to provide students with thorough understanding of the criteria included on the assessments.

• Challenge: The frustration students feel over placing into developmental education.

Action: combining the highest levels of developmental courses with on-level coursework in the same semester so that students meet with on-level success quickly.

• Challenge: students who complete the GED program but still test into developmental education (particularly math).

Action: Summer Bridge program for GED students, which provides further math education before completing the VPT.

• Challenge: students who have relatively high SAT scores but test into developmental education.

Action: setting SAT pass rates that place students directly into college-level courses, eliminating the need to complete the VPT (state initiative).

• Challenge: students placing into developmental math who already have completed the associated coursework in high school.

Action: allowing students to take a pre-test on the first day of any developmental math course, with those who are successful on the pre-test receiving credit for completing the course and not charged for either the course or the pre-test.

The report also showed gains in developmental education.

Since May 2006, the percentage of PHCC students who complete developmental math within two years increased by 40 percent (from 20 percent to 28 percent), and the percentage of students who complete developmental English within two years increased by 32 percent (from 41 percent to 54 percent).

“When disaggregated by ethnicity, gender and Pell status, achievement gaps are closing, and all groups are showing measurable growth for both developmental math and developmental English completion rates within two years,” the report states.

Specifically, since May 2006, developmental math completion rates within two years increased by 53 percent (from 15 percent to 23 percent) among black students, by 30 percent (from 23 percent to 30 percent) among white students, by 30 percent (from 23 percent to 30 percent) among female students, and by 67 percent (from 15 percent to 25 percent) among male students, by 141 percent (from 12 percent to 29 percent) among non-Pell students.

The largest increases have been among African-Americans and non-Pell students, the report states.

Since May 2006, developmental English completion rates within two years increased 38 percent (from 37 percent to 51 percent) among black students, by 33 percent (from 42 percent to 56 percent) among white students, by 25 percent (from 44 percent to 55 percent) among female students, by 51 percent (from 35 percent to 53 percent) among male students, by 24 percent (from 37 percent to 46 percent) among non-Pell students and by 33 percent (from 42 percent to 56 percent) among Pell students. The largest increases have been among male students and Pell students, and low-income students are now outperforming higher income students.

“The rates of certificate and degree completions continue to rise dramatically at (PHCC). In fact PHCC’s three-year completion rates are among the highest in the ATD (Achieving the Dream) network,” the report says.

Since May 2006, the percentage of students who “complete an award” within three years has risen 120 percent (from 15 percent to 33 percent. By subgroups, since May 2006 three-year completion rates have increased by 109 percent (from 11 percent to 23 percent) among black students, by 131 percent (from 16 percent to 37 percent) among white students, by 120 percent (from 15 percent to 33 percent) among female students, by 100 percent (from 16 percent to 32 percent) among male students, by 93 percent (from 15 percent to 29 percent) for non-Pell students and by 113 percent (from 16 percent to 34 percent) among Pell students.

“While the institution recognizes that there is still much work to do in these completion rates, it celebrates the fact that students are completing at significantly higher rates than ever. It is also worth noting that low-income students are now completing at greater rates that higher income students,” the report states.

On Wednesday, Godwin said she believes PHCC’s services and supports for students have contributed to the gains, including services such as counseling, an emergency financial fund, connecting students to community resources, technology for faculty to assist students, and college success coaches.

“This is not about entitlement and subsidizing. This is about empowering people so they can build their own futures,” she said.

Also at Tuesday’s summit, the new Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness (CAPR) was launched to sponsor research of remedial education, according to a White House document and media reports.

 

 
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