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Adult Basic Skills and College Pathways

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1 Adult Basic Skills and College Pathways
Ali Mageehon Umpqua Community College

2 The Program 800 students annually; 300 graduates
Focus on fundamental academic and career- based skills Multi-site, including partnership with Wolf Creek Job Corps Mandatory student orientation, managed enrollment, academic rigor, and advising and transition services The Adult Basic Skills (ABS) program at Umpqua Community College enrolls approximately 700 students annually, and of those students, approximately 400 graduate with their GED or Adult High School Diploma. The goal of the ABS program is to teach fundamental academic and career-based skills to students who wish to earn their high school diploma or GED. We make every effort to support students with mandatory student orientation, managed enrollment, academic rigor, and advising and transition services, in order to help students minimize their individual barriers to education and maximize their academic, professional, and personal achievement.

3 Program History Continuous program since early 1970s
Changes in focus from preparing students for work immediately after the GED to helping students understand that the GED is necessary but not sufficient Greater focus on collaboration with main campus and transition The ABS program has been running continuously since the early 1970s. The primary location of the program is off-site from the UCC campus. Program used to be focused only on GED and getting students into jobs. However, gone are the days when a student could expect to improve their employment prospects by earning a GED. It has become obvious that some level of college training is necessary for students hoping to earn a living wage as they enter the workforce. However, many students still enter into Adult Basic Skills instruction with the belief that a GED is sufficient. ABS staff members begin challenging this belief at Orientation—where students receive information that the GED or Adult High School Diplomas is “necessary but not sufficient” for attaining middle-skills and living wage employment, and that students should prepare to think about college after they have earned their high school equivalency.

4 Transition History 16 credit tuition waiver Minimal use of waiver
Students testing into developmental education level classes Very low rates of transition and completion One of the ways that UCC encourages its GED and High School Diploma graduates to continue their education in college is through a 16 credit tuition waiver, available for students to use within 1 year of earning their GED or AHSD, when students have spent a minimum of 60 hours in the classroom prior to earning their diploma. However, many students have not made use of the tuition waiver—turning instead to low-skills jobs when they graduate. Those students who have attempted to transition to UCC’s credit-classes become frustrated and disinterested when they are placed into pre-college, developmental education courses in Reading, Math, and Writing. We’ve started collecting longitudinal data and have found that between , only 20% of our graduates transition. During this same time period, only 2% complete a two-year degree. Due to this situation, UCC has been participating in several initiatives designed to boost student transition from Adult Basic Skills into academic and career & technical courses.

5 OPABS and Accelerated Opportunities
Participated in design phase of Accelerated Opportunities grant Used Oregon Pathways to Adult Basic Skills as curriculum model Three term model during year one Three cohorts started Umpqua Community College participated in the design of the Accelerating Opportunity model, created in the summer of 2011, through a grant funded by Jobs For the Future. Using the model, we returned to our local college and designed a three-term model for Adult students seeking to earn their GED and considering college using OPABS (explain OPABS).

6 Model Fall Winter Spring OPABS Reading 1 OPABS Writing 1 OPABS Math 1
College and Career Awareness OPABS Reading 2 OPABS Writing 2 OPABS Math 2 HD 100 – College Success (3 credit hours) CIS125-W – Word Processing (3 credit hours) CIS125S – Spreadsheets (3 credit hours) CIS125P – Presentation Software (3 credit hours) CIS125E – (3 credit hours)

7 Supports Assigned academic advisor on campus Enthusiastic instructors
Established curriculum Tuition waiver split over two terms In , Ability to Benefit Students enrolled in this program were also provided with an assigned Academic Advisor, innovative instruction from enthusiastic instructors, access to free tutoring services on campus, and strong administrative support, including approval to use the traditional 16-credit tuition waiver in innovative and unusual ways (we split the tuition waiver into 2 terms of 6 and 10 credits, and had permission to use the waiver prior to students earning their GED). During the first year, students had access to financial aid if they qualified under ability to benefit.

8 First Year Successes Two successful three term cohorts
Of 15 students, 12 transitioned successfully into college courses, earning between 13 – 20 credit hours per student (as of Fall 2013) Low GED completion rate Starting in 2010 – 2011, UCC began incorporating the OPABS curriculum into its GED class offerings—however, the OPABS implementation was haphazard and not intentional. After engaging in the Accelerating Opportunities design planning, UCC had a model with which to design a program using the OPABS curriculum and co-enrollment in college courses to improve academic achievement and propel students into college level coursework. We had two impressive OPABS cohorts in Most students persisted through the 3 terms, and transitioned into college courses. Additionally, students experienced high GED test scores and were able to place into college level reading and writing courses. However, there were some bumps during the year, including a lack of emphasis on GED completion for some students (who qualified for Ability to Benefit and could receive federal financial aid) and a lack of full time instructors in the program. There are two complete OPABS cohorts which began in 2011 – 2012 and have concluded in Fall Of the 15 students enrolled in these two cohorts, 80% of them are enrolled in college courses for Winter The first cohort has a current average of credits per student, and the second cohort has a current average of 13.8 credits per student. Three students were nominated and accepted into the National Adult Education Honor Society in Spring term, 2012, and 1 student has joined Phi Theta Kappa, the UCC Honor Society, in Fall 2012.

9 Second Year Lower success rate Personnel issues Only one cohort
More GED tests passed This year, we only ran one OPABS cohort. 80% of the students did well enough to pass on to the second term of OPABS and college classes. Our current OPABS cohort, which started in Fall 2012, has more progress towards completing their GED certificates because we made passing 3 of the 5 tests a requirement to moving into the second term of OPABS. The final 2 tests will be required before students can move into their third term (and use their second tuition waiver). We changed our emphasis to GED completion this year because of our experiences with OPABS and Ability to Benefit last year. However, we now only have three students in this cohort. There were several challenges that impacted our success this year, including one challenging personnel situation that influenced how students perceived the program.

10 Next Steps Continuing with one OPABS cohort per year
Co-enrolled DE and OPABS cohort, team taught starting in Fall 2013 TRAC cohort starting in Spring, mixed ABS and DE with Career Pathways certificate focus and homegrown curriculum In addition to our OPABS cohort, we are trying a different Accelerating Opportunities model starting in Spring We plan to register students for GED reading, writing, and math instruction, as well as courses that will lead to a Microsoft Office Technologist Career Pathways Certificate. At the conclusion of Summer 2013, we intend students to have completed the GED and the classes which will lead to a Career Pathways certificate in the Business & Management track in Microsoft office technology. We are calling this program TRAC (Technical Readiness for Accelerated Careers) and we believe that the intentional design aiming at both GED and certificate completion will prepare students not only for middle-skills employment in the community, but also continued education in the Business & Management degrees available at UCC. Again, we have tremendous support from the UCC administration and from the UCC Foundation and have been able to subsidize the tuition, fees and books for these classes through tuition waivers and scholarships. This program would not be feasible without that financial support. We will also run an OPABS cohort next year, though we will be doing something differently – having our instructors team teach with ABS and DE instructors, so that both credit seeking students and ABS students will be able to enroll.

11 Questions

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