Math and English programs are shifting in major ways as a result of AB 705’s mandated placement and remediation reforms. Corequisite support is replacing remedial courses. Large numbers of faculty who previously taught remedial math are now teaching college-level statistics. Remedial reading courses were phased out, and English faculty are integrating reading instruction into college composition. CAP provides professional development to support faculty in making these changes with a focus on producing better and more equitable outcomes in transfer-level courses. Below is a selection of CAP’s professional development resources.
Emerging research suggests that faculty play a large role in student success and equitable outcomes within the transfer-level course. Research from DeAnza College in California found that a student’s odds of passing college statistics depended more on who the student had as a teacher than on the student’s race, high school GPA, disability status, or income. Another study of 150 STEM faculty linked student outcomes to faculty views of intelligence. Compared to faculty who viewed intelligence as fixed, those with a growth-oriented view had higher course pass rates and greatly reduced racial equity gaps. Faculty mindset was also a more powerful predictor of student performance than any other faculty characteristic (gender, race/ethnicity, age, teaching experience, tenure status).
In working toward equitable outcomes, faculty need a safe space where they are supported to examine their own classroom success rates disaggregated by race, reflect on how their teaching practice and mindset may be contributing to equity gaps that they observe, and make changes to close the gaps.
When students think that their instructor believes in their capacity to succeed, they have a better psychological experience in class, and, in turn, their motivation and performance improve. Emerging research in California community colleges suggests that specific teaching practices communicate a positive message to students about their capacity to learn, which in turn correlates with a stronger sense of belonging and self-efficacy and a reduction in identity and stereotype threat.
Students who previously were required to take remedial courses in reading and writing now start in college composition. The CAP instructional cycle illustrates how reading instruction can be integrated into the college composition course. To further support students’ growth as writers and provide encouragement for them to engage productively in college-level writing assignments, instructors can also use CAP’s growth-oriented grading practices.
Additional resources: Sample unit integrating reading and writing
In the California community colleges, English learners who graduate from a U.S. high school are more likely to make progress toward a college degree if they start directly in college composition instead of ESL or remedial English courses. To support English learners to succeed, some colleges offer specialized sections of college composition or tailored corequisite sections for English learners, in either the English or ESL department. Many English departments also work to fine-tune pedagogy in mainstream composition to better support this population.
In the California community colleges, statistics courses are in high demand. The majority of students take statistics to satisfy requirements for general education or their major, and almost all of these students are taking statistics as their first math or quantitative reasoning course at the college.
Because many instructors now teach statistics who may not have formal training in the subject, CAP developed an open source online statistics course in Canvas, with an accompanying student activity packet and instructor’s facilitation guide, to support students and teachers alike. These materials promote productive interaction with, and conceptual understanding of, core statistical concepts, and help instructors recognize and address common issues that arise when students with weaker math backgrounds are learning college-level statistics.
Selected resources: CAP’s OER Statistics Course
When the pandemic forced students online, CAP supported faculty through a series of blogs and webinars focused on humanizing online teaching and learning through an equity-minded lens. These resources continue to be useful to faculty teaching in online and hybrid modalities.