21st Century Learning

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As we seek to capture the zeitgeist of 21st Century learning,  we at Thinkwell spend a lot of time talking and thinking about fixing the broken paradigm of education that bombards learners with massive amounts of information and then asks them to ferret out the important stuff.  

Recently, the need for rethinking was driven home by the report "Referral, Enrollment, and Completion in Developmental Education Sequences in Community College" from the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University. And Scott Jascik gives a great analysis of the report in Inside Higher Education in "Lost Before They Start." After reading these and other reports, it is obvious that the paradigm is at least cracked, if not broken. It's surprising that anyone emerges from  developmental courses--but of course they do, thanks frequently to heroic efforts by dedicated teachers and mentors, and of course the students themselves. 
Just a few excerpts highlight the situation:

  • Fewer than sixty percent of students referred to remedial education complete the sequence of programs.
  • Many students, perhaps as many as 30% of the students who do not complete a remedial program, never return to college.
  • More than 40% of students who are referred to remedial programs that are three or more classes below college level never enroll.

In other words, many people are lost in the mix and do not acquire the skills needed to thrive and be productive in our nation.

However, there is good news; The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is addressing the problem.  

Additionally, the Achieving the Dream initiative is dedicated to improving the community college experience. They help the student with several goals:

  • Successfully complete the courses they take;
  • Advance from remedial to credit-bearing courses;
  • Enroll in and successfully complete gatekeeper courses;
  • Enroll from one semester to the next; and
  • Earn degrees and/or certificates.

All of this gives us pause, and it makes us think and work harder to provide the best educational tools possible.  

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This page contains a single entry by Carl Tyson, CEO published on February 12, 2009 6:29 PM.

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