In Spring of 2015, I secured a $20,000 Resource for Excellence Grant from the COD Foundation to pilot an Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) at the College. This initiative was actually stemmed out of QIP 15, an initiative charged with improving student persistence and success in developmental math, developmental English, and online courses.

Read our original grant proposal here.


The Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) is a co-curricular model specifically designed to improve the retention, persistence and success of students enrolled in developmental writing courses. Traditionally, students placed into developmental writing are required to satisfactorily complete their developmental coursework before enrolling in the required college level composition course. In contrast, the ALP model allows developmental writing students to simultaneously enroll in English 0492 and English 1101—allowing them to earn college credit for English composition while receiving substantial academic and non-cognitive support. This is achieved by “reverse engineering” the developmental course with the specific goal of assisting students to succeed in the college-level course. In addition to better aligning the curriculum within the developmental course to support the objectives of 1101, the program also includes integrating intensive advising and support services into the developmental course.

Gains in Student Persistent and Success

Preliminary results of the pilot project at COD have been very impressive. Not only did students in the program pass their ALP developmental writing class at higher rates than students enrolled in the traditional developmental course (96.8% compared to 90.9%), they succeeded in the college level writing course at higher rates than students placed directly into this course college-wide (96.8% compared to 90.8%). What’s more, fall to spring retention rates for students in the program improved dramatically. Indeed, 91.9% of students in the Fall 2015 ALP Cohort registered for one or more classes at the college the next semester, compared to just 80.6% of traditional 1101 students, and 76.7% of traditional developmental students.

Read a more complete snapshot of the Fall Cohort here.

Learning and Study Strategies Inventory

While our major focus with ALP has been to improve the persistence and success of developmental writing students at the College, another major goal of this initiative has been to develop new protocols for collecting usable data on students. In addition to compiling a range of demographic information of students in the program based on existing application and registration data, we have surveyed the students, conducted focus-groups, and collected written artifacts as part of a direct assessment of student learning outcomes in the program. We have also used this project to begin examining non-cognitive/affective and behavioral traits that might impact student performance and success at the College.

The Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) is a nationally normed instrument that has been administered at more than 2300 high schools, community colleges, and universities since 2002. The LASSI is a 10-scale, 80-item assessment of students’ awareness about and use of learning and study strategies related to skill, will and self- regulation components of strategic learning.

We administered the LASSI to all students in the cohort beginning in fall of 2015, and based on a comparison of results between students who were successful in the program and those that were not, are now testing a predictive model that allows us to target additional resources and intervention directly at students who appear most at-risk.

See a preliminary analysis of LASSI results here.