MISSION COLLEGE (California)

by Dr. Jonathan Brennan, Chair, Department of English

In Fall, 2001, Mission College began a learning community program similar to the successful one at Baltimore City Community College. The Mission College program linked eleven basic skills classes (English, Reading, ESL, and Mathematics) with On Course counseling classes. Whereas the BCCC learning community program is two semesters, the Mission program is one semester.

Following are the retention and academic success data from the Fall, 2001, semester of this program. Note that data for all eleven basic skills classes are reported together (rather than for separate courses).

Retention Rates for Mission College Basic Skills Courses

  Retention of All Basic
Skills Students NOT in the On Course Learning Community
Retention of All Basic
Skills Students in the On Course Learning Community
Improved
Retention in the
On Course Learning Community
Fall, 2001 65% 87% +22%

Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had a positive impact on the retention rate of basic skills students.

Academic Success Rates for Mission College Basic Skills Courses

  Academic Success Rate of
All Basic Skills Students NOT in the On Course Learning Community
Academic Success Rate of
All Basic Skills Students in the On Course Learning Community
Improved
Academic Success in the
On Course Learning Community
Fall, 2001 45% 62% +17%

Conclusion: The On Course Learning Community experience had a positive impact on the academic success rate of basic skills students.
The classes have demonstrated higher retention and success. Faculty members have commented that they are energized and excited by the opportunity to work with the On Course strategies. They also use their On Course strategies in a range of other classes and workshops, including athletics, EOPS workshops, transfer, motivation and other workshops, Orientation, counseling classes, and many others. I have also used them with my own colleagues in professional development presentations, especially for new faculty. The students in On Course classes are actively involved in finding solutions to their problems, and in applying their new strategies to their Mathematics, English, and Reading classes."