Programs produce results at college

The Pueblo Community College system, which includes Southwest Colorado Community College, saw a significant increase in the percentage of students completing remedial courses this school year after implementing a new program.

The president of the Colorado Community College System recognized the college Tuesday for the highest percentage-point increase of students completing remedial courses out of the 13 community colleges in the state. At the end of the 2013-14 school year, 78.1 percent of students completed their remedial courses, an increase of seven percentage points compared with 2010-11. This was also the second-highest percentage of students completing remedial courses within the community college system.

“The results were really striking ,” said Norm Jones, the executive dean of SCCC.

He attributed the success to a restructuring of remedial courses that cover reading, writing and math. The college combined several courses, which allowed students to start their selected programs of study sooner.

“It really cut the hours that they are required to pay for to move on,” Jones said.

The college started preparing to restructure the program in spring of 2013.

“We were the institution of the 13 colleges that said we’re going to take this on first,” Jones said.

In fall 2013, the school had 107 students locally enrolled in remedial courses and started providing mentors and one-on-one meetings to help students complete their work.

Jones said that the changes were research based and it was likely that other colleges in the state would implement similar changes.

The state also recognized Otero Junior College for similar improvements to remedial courses. At Otero Junior College, tutors were embedded in the classroom, so that any issues could be immediately addressed. The school also instituted mentor and academic coaching programs and grade checks throughout the year. Two other colleges were recognized for increasing the number of degrees and certificates conferred.

“We are very pleased with the performance results and congratulate the colleges. In order to achieve these results, the entire college community – faculty, staff, students and administrators worked toward a common goal to develop coordinated, comprehensive campaigns to address individual student needs,” said Nancy McCallin, president of the Colorado Community College System.

She oversees the state’s largest system of higher education serving more than 159,000 students annually.