CAP & 3CSN Receive Statewide Award

March 2015

The Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCCA) has awarded CAP and 3CSN the 2015 Mertes Award for Excellence in College Research, in recognition of their work supporting colleges to offer redesigned, accelerated curricula for under-prepared students.

In announcing the award, ACCCA Executive Director Susan Bray wrote, “The Board based its decision on the recent multi-college evaluation done by Craig Hayward and Terrence Willett of the RP Group that demonstrates the success of the project and the conclusion that this effort has significantly contributed to growing innovation and movement toward addressing the larger challenge of completion.”

The evaluation of 16 CAP colleges used statistical methods to control for a wide range of variables that might influence completion (e.g., race, GPA, prior success in discipline) and found that in effective accelerated English pathways, students’ odds of completing a college-level course were 2.3 times higher than in traditional remediation. In accelerated Statistics pathways, their odds of completing a transferable course were 4.5 times higher.

During the ceremony, CAP Director Katie Hern shared a subsequent analysis by Hayward and Willett, which found substantial reductions in achievement gaps for Black and Hispanic students in CAP Statistics pathways (analysis examined raw data, with no statistical controls). Most striking is what happened to the gap between African-American and Asian students. In traditional remediation, Asian students completion of transfer-level math was 2.3 times higher than African-American students. In CAP Statistics pathways, African-American students’ completion quadrupled and the achievement gap with Asian students was completely eliminated.

The ACCCA award honors former state Chancellor Dr. David Mertes, who recently passed away. Bray wrote, “On a personal note, in recognition of the fact that we lost our good friend and colleague, Dr. Mertes, this past year, the 2015 award presentation is all the more significant to us and it ensures that his memory and the work he hoped would continue to be done is in fact more vibrant and relevant today than ever before. I believe that 3CSN and the CAP project certainly embody that vision.”

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