BALTIMORE CITY COMMUNITY COLLEGE (MD)   

In Fall, 1999, students at Baltimore City Community College who placed in ENG 81 (the college’s middle-level developmental writing course) were invited to enroll in a learning community comprised of ENG 81 and CSS 110 (College Success Seminar), a 3-credit orientation class that teaches students the 8 Success Principles found in the text On Course: Strategies for Success in College and in Life.  Students successful in these paired courses moved on together to ENG 82 with the same classmates and instructor.

Due to the impressive improvement of student retention and academic success in the Learning Community, the program was expanded in Fall, 2000, to include students taking developmental reading and mathematics. These students participated in Learning Communities that paired the College Success Seminar with RDG 81 and MATH 81. Successful students went on together in the learning community to take RDG 82 and MATH 82 in Spring, 2001. 

The data below show the positive impact of this program on the academic success and retention of developmental students. Three components of the learning community seem to contribute most significantly to the improvement in academic success and retention of these developmental students: 1) Students learned the On Course success principles and strategies in CSS 110, 2) Students had the guidance of a mentor who taught the CSS 110 class and coached them outside of class to supply the On Course principles and strategies in all areas of their lives, and 3) Students, during their first two critical semesters in college, felt part of a community of motivated and supportive fellow students.

***2000-2001 DATA***

Retention Rates for Developmental English Students

  Retention of Eng 81
Students NOT in the Learning Community (N=425)
Retention of Eng 81
Students in the On Course Learning Community (N=33)
Improved Retention in the
On Course Learning Community
Fall ’00 to Spring ’01 63% 76% +13%

Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience continued to have a positive impact on the retention of developmental students in English 81.

 

Retention Rates for Developmental Reading Students

  Retention of Rdg 81
Students NOT in the Learning Community (N=401)
Retention of Rdg 81
Students in the On Course Learning Community (N=28)
Improved Retention in the
On Course Learning Community
Fall ’00 to Spring ’01 64% 79% +15%

Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had a significantly positive impact on the retention of developmental Reading students.

 

Retention Rates for Developmental Math Students

  Retention of all Math 81
Students NOT in the Learning Community 
Retention of all Math 81
Students in the On Course Learning Community 
Improved Retention in the
On Course Learning Community
Fall ’00 to Spring ’01 69% 90% +21%

Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had a significantly positive impact on the retention of developmental Math students.

 

Pass Rates for Developmental English Students

  Pass Rate of all Eng Students NOT
in the Learning Community
Pass Rate of all Eng
students in the On Course Learning Community
Improved Pass Rates in the
On Course Learning Community
Eng 81 in Fall ’00 55% 70% +15%
Eng 82 in Spring ’01 49% 87% +38%

Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had an extraordinarily positive impact on the academic success rate of development English students.

 

Pass Rates for Developmental Reading Students

  Pass Rate of all Reading students NOT
in Learning Community
Pass Rate of all Reading students in the
On Course Learning Community
Improved Pass Rates in the
On Course Learning Community
Rdg 81 in Fall ’00 54% 71% +17%
Rdg 82 in Spring ’01 52% 74% +22%

Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had a very positive impact on the academic success rate of development reading students.

 

Pass Rates for Developmental Math Students

  Pass Rate of all Math students NOT
in Learning Community
Pass Rate of all Math students in the
On Course Learning Community
Improved Pass Rates in the
On Course Learning Community
Math 81 in Fall ’00 28% 39% +11%
Math 82 in Spring ’01 47% 56% +9%

Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had a positive impact on the academic success rate of development math students.

 

***1999-2000 DATA***

 

Retention Rates for Developmental English Students

  Retention of Eng 81
Students in a Matched Control Group (N=95)
Retention of Eng 81
Students in On Course Learning Community (N=83)
Improved Retention in On
Course Learning Community
Z-Test
Fall ’99 to Spring ’00 50.5% 77.1% +26.6% p<.01
Fall ’99 to Fall ’00 26.3% 49.4% +23.1% p<.05

Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had a significantly positive impact on the retention of developmental students.

 

Pass Rates for Developmental English Students

  Pass Rate of Students NOT
in Learning Community (N=95)
Pass Rate Students in the
On Course Learning Community (N=83)
Improved Pass Rates in On
Course Learning Community
Eng 81 in Fall ’99 55% 78% +23%
Eng 82 in Spring ’00 48% 72% +24%

Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had a very positive impact on the academic success rate of development students.

 

Three-Semester Cumulative Pass Rates for Developmental English Students

  Non-Learning Community
Students (Starting N=434)
On Course Learning Community Students
(Starting N =83)
Improved Cumulative Pass
Rates in On Course Learning Community
Percent of the starting
group who Passed Eng 81 in Fall, ’99
Successful students = 240

54.5%

Successful students = 65

78.3%

+44%
Percent of the starting
group who Passed Eng 82 in Spring, ’00
Successful students = 96

22.1%

Successful students = 39

47%

+113%
Percent of the starting
group who Passed Eng 101 in Fall, ’00
Successful students = 29

6.7%

Successful students = 25

30.0%

+348%

Conclusion: The positive impact of the On Course Learning Community on student pass rates was compounded over successive semesters. After three semesters, On Course Learning Community students were 348% more likely to have passed English 101 than were non-learning community students who began Eng 81 at the same time.

 

Pass Rates for English 101

  English 101 Pass Rate for Non-Learning Community Students (N=854) English 101 Pass Rate for
On Course Learning Community Students (N=34)
Improved English 101 Pass
Rate for On Course Learning Community Students
Fall ’00 40.3% 73.5% +33.2%

Conclusion: The two-semester On Course Learning Community experience prepares students to continue doing well academically when they leave the Learning Community. On Course Learning Community students were nearly twice as likely to pass Eng. 101 in their first try than were non-learning community students, many of whom were taking English 101 for the 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th time.