Laredo Community College deploys MyLab Foundational Skills and skilled advising in an intensive summer boot camp to improve college readiness, accelerate progress, and save students time and tuition expense

Laredo Community College deploys MyLab Foundational Skills and skilled advising in an intensive summer boot camp to improve college readiness, accelerate progress, and save students time and tuition expense

 

Key Findings

  • Following a week-long boot camp with MyLab Foundational Skills, 338 Laredo Community College students improved their TSIA (Texas Success Initiative Assessment) scores, bypassing one or more developmental education courses and saving an average $1241.99 tuition (in-district) per student or an estimated $114,510 for the cohort.
  • Among all 338 boot camp participants, 81 students or 24 percent tested college ready in math, reading, and/or writing, eliminating the need for developmental education courses.

School name
Laredo Community College, Laredo, TX

Course name
Summer TSI (Texas Success Initiative) Boot Camp

Course format
Hybrid

 

Administrators and faculty:
Marissa Longoria, Dean of College Readiness
Dr. Margaret Wintersole, English & Communications Department Chair
Guillermo Serna, Mathematics Department Chair
Amy Arguijo, Reading faculty
Jessica Cisneros, Reading faculty
Sylvia Elizondo, Reading faculty
Ricardo Vergara, English as a Second Language faculty
Mary Sue Galindo, English faculty
Leticia Spillane, Reading faculty
Humberto Cardenas, English faculty
Yadhira Rodriguez, English faculty
Dr. Armando Perez, Mathematics department chair and faculty
Diana Pescador, Mathematics faculty
Dr. Antonio Carranza, Mathematics faculty
Gabriel Carranza, Mathematics faculty
Humberto Laurel, Mathematics faculty
Laura Huerta, Mathematics faculty
Maribel Mitsui, Mathematics faculty
Oscar Caballero, Mathematics faculty
Javier Lozano, Title V Grant Staff
Rosemary Aguero, Title V Grant Staff
Manuel Guillen, Title V Grant Staff
Dr. Vincent Solis, Vice-President for Instruction
Dr. Fred Solis, Associate Vice-President for Instruction
Dr. Nora Garza, Vice-President for Resource Development

Results reported by
Lauren Gill, Senior Results Manager, Readiness, Progression, & Employability

Setting

Laredo Community College serves a three-county area of South Texas with two campuses along the Rio Grande. The Fort McIntosh and South campuses serve a total of 9,000 students each year through a variety of affordable academic programs, technical and vocational programs, non-credit community interest courses, and adult education courses that help area adults obtain English skills, job skills, or a General Education Development (GED) diploma. With a student population that is 95.5% Hispanic, Laredo Community College is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).

Challenges and Goals

Summer Boot Camps were initiated to promote student success among incoming freshmen and current students whose Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA) scores indicated skills deficits in reading, writing, and/or mathematics.

The objective of the boot camp intervention is to enable students to bypass some or all developmental education courses and begin enrolling in courses at the college level. Pre- and post-TSIA scores were used to determine how many total levels of developmental courses students advanced and how many students exited the boot camp as college ready. Students deemed college ready at the conclusion of the boot camps do not require any further remediation and may enroll directly in college-level courses at Laredo Community College or in dual enrollment courses at their high schools.

Bypassing at least one developmental education class is a BIG success for students in terms of time savings, tuition savings, and the motivation students derive from accelerating through developmental education.

Implementation

Dean Longoria and her team of instructors designed an intensive, week-long hybrid program and adopted a version of MyLab Foundational Skills customized with content specifically for English language learners and aimed at objectives covered on the TSI.

Dean Longoria states, “We invite all interested students and their parents to a new-student orientation where we explicitly lay out the benefits of the boot camp program in both English and Spanish. Parents care deeply about the cost/time savings realized when students are able to bypass developmental courses. Students are receptive as well, but we find that students don’t fully understand the benefits until they complete the program and receive concrete proof of the course(s) they tested out of. We want to engage students and their families from the very beginning, to share information and strategies that will help students make a successful transition to higher education.”

She continues, “Participants in summer 2016 were 338 incoming freshmen and current students.  These underprepared students would not be eligible to take college-level courses without meeting the state standard on the TSIA as determined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).  However, boot camp participants who met the appropriate state standard on the post-TSIA would be eligible for college-level courses. Even if students did not test completely out of developmental education, they had the opportunity to “skip” one or more levels of remedial courses, which means saving hundreds of dollars as well as semesters of non-credit coursework.  The TSI boot camps are taught exclusively by LCC full-time or adjunct faculty.  In addition to boot camps, our faculty also developed HB5 College Prep courses, which allow high school teachers to deliver remediation to 12th graders who are not yet college ready.  A team of our LCC teachers worked together to create the syllabus for both the boot camps as well as a college prep class, which aims to prepare 12th graders before they graduate from high school. Our teachers then trained the high school teachers who led the college prep class.  Students who pass this course are deemed college-ready at any institution of higher education in Laredo or other Region I colleges in South Texas as part of an HB5 College Prep Course Inter-institutional agreement.  ”

Dean Longoria notes, “Our teachers are really savvy about the benefits of MyFoundationsLab; they know how to help students achieve maximal learning gains in a brief but intense one-week boot camp by alternating direct instruction with students’ independent lab work in MyLab Foundational Skills.”

Results and Data

Summer 2016 TSIA Boot Camp Results

 

Total # of students Total # of levels students advance Total # of students college ready Total % of students college ready Average savings per student In-district Average savings per studentOut-of-district Estimated savings per group In-district Estimated savings per group Out-of-district
Math 184 128 39 21% $324.64 $432.88 $59,700 $79,650
Reading 115 63 14 12% $250.43 $332.61 $28,800 $38,250
Writing 39 60 28 72% $666.92 $897.69 $26,010 $35,010
Total 338 251 81 24% $1241.99 $1663.18 $114,510 $152,910


Table 1. Laredo Community College students n=338 results after week-long MyLab Foundational Skillsboot camp summer 2016.  Total number of levels advanced indicates the number of developmental education courses the student “skipped” as a result of TSI performance after the boot camp.

 On the benefits of bypassing one or more developmental education courses, Dean Longoria states, “Bypassing at least one developmental education class is a BIG success for students in terms of time savings, tuition savings, and the motivation students derive from accelerating through developmental education.  We have seen how interventions such as TSI boot camps and revamping our programs can result in long term student success.  For example, data indicates that the 2012 cohort of students who were underprepared in Mathematics and English were tracked for one year, with only 8.5% of students who were enrolled in developmental Mathematics and 16.4% of students who were enrolled in a developmental English courses successfully completing a college-level course within a year.  However, after implementation of the TSI Boot Camps and other curricular revamps, the Fall 2014 cohort of underprepared students were tracked for three semesters and their results showed a significant improvement in acceleration through the developmental education sequences and success in college level courses.  For example, results indicate that 35.3% of this underprepared cohort had attempted a college level Mathematics course, with 26.4% successfully completing with an A, B, or C (as compared to the 2012 cohort with an 8.5% success rate).   English also saw significant gains, with 53.9% of underprepared English students starting in developmental education attempting college level English, with 37.9% successfully completing with an A, B, or C (as compared to the 2012 cohort with 16.4% success rate).

Our boot camp program seeks to improve students’ long-term completion outcomes by strengthening core academic skills, advising and mentoring students, and providing a guided transition to higher education credit courses. We view the boot camp intervention as an investment in the lives of students, their families, and our community.”

The Student Experience

Dean Longoria reports, “Student feedback is resoundingly positive. We hustle to make the boot camps fun. The program is brief but we take full advantage of the time. We conduct one-on-one advising sessions with students after each boot camp session to ensure that students know how to navigate the college onboarding process. In these meetings, students speak of their motivation and pride at improving their scores and testing out of one or more developmental education courses.”

We view the boot camp intervention as an investment in the lives of students, their families, and our community.

Conclusion

Dean Longoria sums up, “MyLab Foundational Skills does a good job of meeting the needs of different learners. Within our intensive, hybrid boot camp program, MyLab Foundational Skills enables each individual student to refresh and remediate just the skills they need to work on. Because MyLab Foundational Skills provides a personalized learning path for each student, our teachers can effectively address the needs of a large group of students with diverse needs. We’re pleased with the outcomes achieved with our boot camp program and look forward to tracking outcomes of participants as they pursue their academic and career pathways at LCC.”

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