Adopt statewide math, writing and reading college readiness standards to serve as a foundation for all pre-college placement, course content, and pedagogy decisions. This will involve identifying members to serve on statewide committees to create standards and/or review and modify standards work already completed.
Instruction Commission and SBCTC
Standards adopted for Math, writing, and reading by fall 2012.
Colleges select pre-college instructional model(s) described in this document that provide contextualized and integrated learning and help move students through pre-college to college-level in less than one year as recommended.
Oversight by Instruction Commission
Begin fall 2012 with major implementation of pre-college course and program changes fall 2013.
Each college will map the overlap of content across ABE and pre-college reading, writing and math in order to identify specific areas of opportunity to reduce duplication and sequence of courses.
Instruction Commission will provide oversight for the project.
Results of mapping will be shared with appropriate councils and reported to the Instruction Commission at the end of winter quarter, 2012
Acting on the information from their college map, each campus will engage administrators and reading/writing and math instructors to design a plan that will provide students with multiple opportunities in a reduced sequence of ABE and developmental education courses. Students will be supported to scaffold up skills as far as possible to the level required for college credit.
College faculty are responsible for mapping.
Colleges will report their implementation plans to the Instruction Commission by fall quarter, 2012.
Campuses will pilot their initial efforts in spring quarter and early challenges and results at the 2012 Transition Conference organized by SBCTC staff.
Make recommendations for strategies to move ABE students successfully to college-level math. The Council for Basic Skills will convene a task force to outline options for ABE pathways in reading/writing and math for students at or above Level 5 that will substantially shorten the time required to transition from ABE to developmental or college-level classes.
The Articulation and Transfer Council and the Council for Basic Skills will create a shared task force.
Recommendations from both task forces will be vetted with appropriate councils/commissions and faculty members and brought to the Instruction Commission by fall 2012.
Each college will develop and adopt pre-college curriculum that integrates and imbeds critical student supports and life readiness competencies. Each college will determine the most effective strategies to implement these supports within their own college culture and framework.
Student Services, Workforce, Basic Skills and Developmental Education faculty and staff at colleges.
Oversight by Instruction Commission.
Each college will adopt student success competencies by winter 2012.
Communicate system pre-college needs to ERP project manager to ensure recommendations for an Early Alert system are included in the design of the new ERP system. Ensure pre-college student support staff and faculty have a voice/representation in the design and development of the ERP for this purpose.
Beginning fall 2011 and ongoing until implementation of ERP.
Develop a cadre of faculty trainers to teach other faculty on instructional models that positively impact student success:
Contextualized and integrated
Outcomes-based and accelerated
Inverted classroom design
Design team: pre-college faculty, instructional designers, faculty development leads; prepare faculty to teach peers, SBCTC staff.
Oversight by Instruction Commission
Completed by spring 2012
Use existing faculty professional development offerings to increase faculty skills needed to transform pre-college education according to this plan. Offerings include:
Design team: pre-college faculty, instructional designers, faculty development leads; prepare faculty to teach peers, SBCTC staff.
Oversight by Instruction Commission
Begin offering professional development summer 2012 and continue
Promote the use of NW eTutoring Consortium tutoring services.
e-Learning, SBCTC, Library Media Director’s Council
Currently 27 colleges are using this service. Efforts will be ongoing to encourage the rest of the colleges to join.
Implement Open Course Library Initiative
SBCTC and Design Teams
The Open Course Library is being developed in two phases. Phase 1 (42 courses) is nearing completion and will be released in fall 2011. Phase 2 (the remaining 39 courses) will be released in fall 2012.
Provide faculty grants to use OLI courses for three (3) quarters and participate in data collection. The program will pay faculty a total stipend of $3000 ($1000 per quarter for 3 quarters) to teach using a hybrid OLI course. Adoption of OLI courses beyond the 3 quarters will be purely voluntary, but we expect that many faculty will continue to use these high quality open educational resources beyond the 3 quarters.
SBCTC and e-Learning
Grants available fall 2011.
Credit for Prior Learning Current practice being reviewed Assessing and awarding credit for prior learning allows students entering college with prior knowledge and skills to move further and faster toward their educational goals. Current practices of assessing learning outcomes achieved through prior learning, and awarding college credit for prior learning which meets outcomes for college-level courses, vary widely across the community and technical college system. Information about prior learning assessment (PLA) is not readily available on all college websites, the fee structure is not always clear, and the process varies from department to department on some campuses.
It is clear that the assessment of student learning outcomes is the work of faculty. NWCCU accreditation Standard 4.A.3 reads:
The institution documents, through an effective, regular, and comprehensive system of assessment of student achievement, that students who complete its educational courses, programs, and degrees, wherever offered and however delivered, achieve identified course, program, and degree learning outcomes. Faculty with teaching responsibilities are responsible for evaluating student achievement of clearly identified learning outcomes. Any system-wide standard for assessment of prior learning must include the flexibility to allow for a variety of assessment methods, as appropriate for assessing student achievement of the course outcomes. Generally, these methods include:
Portfolios “… describes and documents a student’s prior learning; shows where and how that learning took place; and analyzes how the student applied that learning in new situations. The PLA portfolio provides an effective way for a course content expert to assess the student’s prior learning to determine whether credit can be awarded” (Regis University Prior Learning Process). Students may compile evidence of achieving the course outcomes on their own. However, in many cases, students first complete a portfolio development course which would teach them to:
Generate theoretical and conceptual understanding from relevant experiences.
Assess the quality of their own learning.
Organize, synthesize and document learning experiences in a portfolio that demonstrates achievement of the outcomes of the course(s) for which credit is sought.
Written exams (essay, multiple choice, and so forth).
Practical assessments or demonstrations of skills (usually used in technical programs).
Combination of methods.
Institutions may also choose to review standardized and non-standardized non-academic credits or curriculum to determine whether or not attainment of these credits or completion of the curriculum is evidence of attaining specific course outcomes. For example, Highline Community College has reviewed the learning outcomes for the Washington State Basic Law Enforcement Academy and compared them to the learning outcomes of the Criminal Justice courses offered by Highline. This side-by-side comparison provides an efficient means to clearly identify the learning outcomes achieved by every student who presents a certificate of graduation from the Basic Law Enforcement Academy.
What the literature is telling us about assessing and awarding credit for prior learning. The most extensive studies of assessing and awarding credit for prior learning come from the Council on Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). CAEL gained insight from a 2010 study involving 62,000 students at 48 institutions across the United States. Highlights from a recent CAEL report include the following findings:
Students who are awarded credit for prior learning are more likely to persist and complete.
Hispanic students who received credit for prior learning earned Bachelor’s degrees at a rate nearly eight times that of Hispanic non-PLA students.
Awarding PLA credit decreases time to degree, with the most dramatic decrease in Black, non-Hispanic students.
In CAEL’s benchmarking study, they found that awarding credit for prior learning:
Validates the worth of learning students have achieved on their own.
Identifies what students need to learn in order to achieve their personal, career, or academic goals.
Shortens the time necessary to earn a college credential.
Saves tuition by reducing the number of required courses.
CAEL recommends adoption of the following ten standards for assessing learning:
Credit or its equivalent should be awarded only for learning, and not for experience.
Assessment should be based on standards and criteria for the level of acceptable learning that are both agreed upon and made public.
Assessment should be treated as an integral part of learning, not separate from it, and should be based on an understanding of learning processes.
The determination of credit awards and competence levels must be made by appropriate subject matter and academic or credentialing experts.
Credit or other credentialing should be appropriate to the context in which it is awarded and accepted.
If awards are for credit, transcript entries should clearly describe what learning is being recognized and should be monitored to avoid giving credit twice for the same learning.
Policies, procedures, and criteria applied to assessment, including provision for appeal, should be fully disclosed and prominently available to all parties involved in the assessment process.
Fees charged for assessment should be based on the services performed in the process and not determined by the amount of credit awarded.
All personnel involved in the assessment of learning should pursue and receive adequate training and continuing professional development for the functions they perform.
Assessment programs should be regularly monitored, reviewed, evaluated, and revised as needed to reflect changes in the needs being served, the purposes being met, and the state of the assessment arts.
Additional review of literature is represented in the report produced by the SSB 6357 work group on Prior Learning, “Academic Credit for Prior Learning in Washington Postsecondary Education: Proposed Policies and Recommendations.” The report was submitted to the Legislature in December of 2010.
Recommendations for awarding credit for prior learning The Washington State Prior Learning Assessment and Credit (PLAC) work group was formed in response to Legislation passed in 2010 (SSB 6357) and continues with the direction from Legislation passed in 2011 (HB 1795). In 2010, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges was charged with leading the group; in 2011, the Higher Education Coordinating Board that is charged with leading the group. The PLAC work group consults with key resource groups – each having their own areas of knowledge and expertise – throughout the Washington State higher education system.
Recommendation 1: Identify a single point of contact regarding PLAC information, for each institution. Rationale:
Fewer than half of the institutions queried were able to identify a single point of contact. Staff are unsure about their own institution’s policies on PLAC.
Recommendation 2: Develop a consistent method of tracking PLAC.
Institutions to track the number of students attempting and completing PLA, and the number of PLA credits being awarded
Adopting a method for tracking PLAC will allow for identification of high-impact practices which could be brought to scale across the state.
Recommendation 3: Review work-based and other common training in career clusters and develop a matrix of possible credits.
Reduce duplication of effort involved in one-on-one assessments, and increase consistent award of credits for common prior learning.
Recommendation 4: Improve clarity and increase consistency of fee structures for students.
The cost model and self support model requested by WACTC is currently under development.
The WACTC-adopted guidelines for community and technical colleges are unclear.
Recommendation 5: Increase the number of PLA credits accepted in transfer of academic credit to baccalaureate institutions. Rationale:
The Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities allows up to 25 percent of a degree from PLA.
Recommendation 6: Collect and share examples of good practices. Rationale:
Collecting and sharing best practices allows for quicker and more consistent adoption of effective methods for awarding credit for prior learning.
Recommendation 7: Develop online handbook for training to include accreditation issues, CHEA list of approved accrediting bodies, and single point of contact for each institution. Rationale:
Remove ambiguity and increase consistency by providing clear guidelines and examples of practices that support assessment and award of credit for prior learning
Support accurate and complete academic counseling regarding PLA.
Recommendation 8: Increase transparency and consistency of information available to students and stakeholders.
Information should be readily available to prospective and current students. A clear description of Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) policies and processes should be published in the college catalogue and on college websites, and students should be informed of the location of PLA information through quarterly schedules and in other marketing materials.
Search of institution websites and online catalogs resulted in no, incomplete, or inconsistent PLA information found in more than half of the websites.
Credit for Prior Learning Implementation Plan
Who is Responsible
Recommended Time Frame
Identify a single point of contact regarding PLA credit information, for each institution.
registrars, academic units
Develop a consistent method of tracking PLA credit.
Josh Baker, Pam LeMay, Nancy Mullane.
Institutions to track the number of students attempting and completing PLA, and the number of PLA credits being awarded.
Institutional researchers, registrars, Education, Research and Data Center(ERDC), Public Centralized Higher Education Enrollment System (PCHEES) Work Group
Review work-based and other common training in career clusters and develop a matrix of possible credits (see appendices for list of career clusters).
Note: This crosswalk between common prior learning and CTC courses will not bypass the assessment step in the process.
Erik Tingelstad, Bernal Baca, Pat Ward
Centers of Excellence Directors with respective industry advisory council members
Instruction Commission (IC); possibly Workforce Education Council (WEC), or Articulation and Transfer Council (ATC)
Improve clarity and increase consistency of fee structures for students.
Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges (WACTC) and Registrars.
Holly Moore, Walter Hudsick, Robin Jeffers
Increase the number of PLA credits accepted in transfer of academic credit to baccalaureate institutions.
Follow up with colleges identified as having transparent, consistent practices resulting in higher numbers of students receiving PLA credit.
PLAC Work Group members
Develop online handbook for training to include accreditation issues, CHEA list of approved accrediting bodies, and single point of contact for each institution
Provide online and recorded training for those who will be advising students or assessing individual student’s prior learning.
SBCTC professional development staff with CTC Assessment Liaisons, Student Services
Increase transparency and consistency of information available to students and stakeholders.
Information should be readily available to prospective and current students. A clear description of PLA policies and processes should be published in the college catalogue and on college websites, and students should be informed of the location of PLA information through quarterly schedules and in other marketing materials.
Public Information Officers
PERFORMANCE FUNDING TO CREATE INCENTIVES FOR NEW EFFICIENCIES The Instruction Commission was unable to complete this assignment given the length of time it took to arrive at the recommendations in this document. If this task is still requested by WACTC, the Instruction Commission will use information resulting from the Business Affairs Commission efficiency costs considerations to inform recommendations related to performance funding incentives.
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