Spring Conferences Put the Focus on Student Success

From rethinking course structures to making learning more transparent, the 2018 Co-Requisite and AMCOA conferences dove into developing the means for students to achieve their academic goals.

Bringing the Co-requisite Model to Scale in Massachusetts

2018 Co-requisite Statewide Institute Conference

Attendees sit at round tables listening to the keynote speaker

On Friday, April 27, the DHE’s Co-requisite Statewide Institute conference took place in Leominister. This year’s conference focused on highlighting campuses' efforts to bring the co-requisite model to scale either in English, mathematics, or both. Co-requisite education gives students who require remediation to take developmental and credit-bearing courses simultaneously. Students progress more quickly and successfully through degree requirements, which in turn reduces costs and boosts completion rates—two of the DHE’s “Big Three” objectives.

In the first set of subject-based breakout sessions following a plenary session with Heidi Loshbaugh (Dean, Center for Math & Science, Community College of Denver), institutional representatives discussed the co-requisite models they had implemented and scaled on their campuses. For the mathematics session, campus teams created posters describing their models and participated in a "gallery walk," which let them connect with and learn from other attendees and the institutions they represented.

For the afternoon breakout session for English, members of the Co-requisite at Scale English Subcommittee described their recommendations for bringing the co-requisite model to scale and the use of multiple measures for placement. In the mathematics session, Connie Richardson spoke on connection between co-requisite education and math pathways. Participants also had a chance to discuss how co-requisite courses and math pathways are aligned at their own institutions.

Campus teams working on posters describing their co-requisite models during a breakout session

Before the closing remarks of the conference, campus teams had the chance to meet and share their thoughts from their respective breakout sessions and discuss opportunities for cross-institutional collaboration.

The Continuing Importance of Assessment

2018 AMCOA Conference

Attendees sit in rows watching a speaker on a video screen

Also held in April was the DHE’s seventh annual Advancing a Massachusetts Culture of Assessment (AMCOA) Conference. The April 20 conference was titled "The Continuing Importance of Assessment: From the Classroom to Program to Institutional Levels."

The plenary session focused on transparent instruction, in which the rationale behind a course’s structure and requirements is explained to students. In recent years, increasing amounts of research has demonstrated the benefit of this practice in students’ learning. This session was led by Dr. Mary-Ann Winkelmes, current Director of Instructional Development at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Senior Fellow for the Association of American Colleges & Universities.

Facilitated by Dr. Matthew Salomon from Bridgewater State University, one of the eight breakout sessions was on Quantitative Literacy, which entails a familiarity with understanding mathematical data in a variety of forms, like tables, charts, graphs, and statistics. Participants explored models for developing QL in higher education; reviewed best practices for teaching, assessing, and supporting QL; and gauged their institution’s readiness to take next steps.