Spotlight on Student Success #1 – January 14, 2015

Community Colleges and High School Partners Assemble for Statewide College Readiness Now Meeting

The Center for Student Success hosted College Readiness Now teams from across the sector and their high school partners on January 9, 2015, at Middlesex County College.

The meeting featured Dr. Monica Reid Kerrigan of Rowan University, who conducted a comprehensive College Readiness Now program evaluation. Additionally, Dr. Elisabeth Barnett from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University discussed Data-driven Successes in National College Readiness Initiatives.

College Readiness Now pilots, which took place during the spring and summer of 2014 at the state’s 19 community colleges, were funded by a $620,000 grant from the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education. After completing the pilot program, 48% of students previously considered not ready for college-level work are now prepared to begin their postsecondary education.

The initiative focused on students who were not yet considered to be college-ready in English and mathematics. Rather than having these students begin their postsecondary education with remedial courses in the subjects, the College Readiness Now initiative allowed New Jersey’s 19 community colleges to offer programs to these students while they were still enrolled in high school. After testing over 1,800 high school juniors and seniors, New Jersey community colleges enrolled more than 900 students in spring and summer programs, and nearly 450 of the enrolled students achieved college-ready status in English and/or mathematics.

While nearly 450 of the enrolled students achieved the college ready status in English or math, the additional students greatly decreased their need for remedial education and many find themselves needing just one remedial course to be considered college ready. This allows students to complete their degrees more quickly and save their families hundreds of dollars on the cost of developmental courses.

From her findings, Dr. Kerrigan concluded that going forward, community colleges should offer three models of College Readiness Now:

  • A short and intensive (one week) computer-based instruction model with instructor support;
  • A semester-based model that is incorporated into students’ school day; and
  • A five-week summer bridge model with course meetings Monday through Thursday that is based on a traditional college developmental course.

In addition, each model should offer some type of college experience and information through workshops or a college success course to help students become more familiar with college nomenclature and college culture.

Dr. Kerrigan also shared some of what students said when she spoke with them.

“The program is helping kids who know they are struggling.”

“I used to be terrified of going to college, but now I’m not.”

“The summer program was a wake-up call. I need to be more responsible.”

“I can’t wait for school to start to show my teachers and friends how much I learned.”

College Readiness Now Evaluation PowerPoint by Dr. Monica Reid Kerrigan

High School – College Partnerships to Increase College Readiness Keynote PowerPoint by Dr. Elisabeth Barnett’s

College Readiness Now Evaluation Interim Report

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