In January 2016, Mt. San Jacinto College examined data on how students were doing in their basic skills sequences. It wasn't pretty.
Under their current Accuplacer-based policies, only 15% of incoming students were determined "ready" for college English. White students were twice as likely to be placed into college English as Hispanic students, and nearly four times as likely as African American students. For students placed into college English, the chance of passing the course in two years: 73%.
Hispanic and Black students, on the other hand, were more than twice as likely as white students to have to take multiple remedial courses. Their chances of passing college English in two years: 23-38%.
To address this disproportionate impact, the English department voted to make the following changes:
- Lowering cut scores for access to college English
- Allowing students who self-report an overall high school GPA of 2.5 or higher to enroll directly in college English
- Creating a "101-plus" corequisite model that enables students with a self-reported high school GPA of 2.0 or higher to enroll in college English with extra support
- Eliminating courses two- and three-levels-below college so that no student is required to take more than one semester of English remediation
The department is organizing professional development to help faculty teach with high-challenge, high-support pedagogy.