This year, Central Oregon Community College has been sending two faculty members (one in developmental writing, the other in
developmental math) and an instructional dean to monthly statewide meetings of
the Oregon Developmental Education Redesign Task Force (http://ccwd.oregon.gov/DevEdRedesign/ ). The stated goal of the group is to improve student success in and completion of developmental writing and math courses, ensuring that more students continue with their degrees.
From the reports I have received from our writing faculty member representative, some colleges in the state have already redesigned developmental writing by combining developmental reading and writing courses intotwo courses combining both skills (my college did that aboutten years ago), decreasing the number of developmental writing courses offered fromthree writing andtwo reading totwo reading/writing courses (we still have an advanced developmental writing course for those students who need the third course).
However, this Task Force is looking at other redesign efforts to help more students succeed. Their goal is to present a report this summer with their recommendations. Other ideas being discussed:
1. Come up with a common placement tool/scoring system statewide, including a combination of student high school grades and placement scores.
2. Allow recent high school students to register for the first year composition course, and only recommend additional tutoring if their placement scores suggest they need more help (as has been done in Florida recently).
3. Require students with low placement scores to take a required “lab” course along with Composition, thus skipping developmental classes.
In Oregon, other task forces (College Now; Eastern Promise) are working on related “solutions” such as offering college writing courses at all high schools so that students complete composition at the high school level. Several million dollars in grant funding was recently awarded to three school/community college districts to facilitate the training of high school teachers to that end.