Transforming Learning Support in Georgia
A decade or so ago, in Georgia and nationwide, relatively few students who began college requiring Learning Support * ever completed their degrees.
Georgia data (above) are from the Complete College America report: Remediation: Higher Education’s Bridge to Nowhere
University System of Georgia (USG) institutions used to offer Learning Support exclusively in prerequisite format, meaning that students had to complete these Learning Support courses before being allowed to take the collegiate courses in the same area. For students who enrolled in fall 2010, when Learning Support was offered almost entirely through a prerequisite model, only 21% of students starting with Learning Support requirements passed their gateway collegiate courses in English and mathematics within 2 years. Since successful completion of these gateway courses is a graduation requirement, failure to complete these courses was an important barrier to degree completion.
The low gateway course completion rates and the low graduation rates for students who started with Learning Support requirements cannot be blamed on the faculty who taught these students in prerequisite Learning Support courses. Students who started in Learning Support and enrolled entry-level collegiate courses in English and mathematics actually performed about as well in these courses as students who started without Learning Support requirements. However, about half of the students who started in prerequisite Learning Support did not complete Learning Support requirements, and may students who completed Learning Support requirements did not enroll in the collegiate courses their Learning Support courses prepared them for. (There was no requirement for students to take the collegiate course immediately after completing the Learning Support course.) The structure of prerequisite Learning Support programs was causing most students with Learning Support requirements to give up before attempting their entry-level collegiate English and mathematics courses.
As part of Complete College Georgia, the USG aimed to change these statistics so that more students who enter with Learning Support requirements are able to complete degrees. Across the nation and within the state of Georgia, there is ample evidence that by transforming the way that we do remediation, we can dramatically increase success rates in collegiate gateway courses and beyond, without compromising the integrity of the content.
Faculty-led Task Forces Ad Hoc Committees recommended in 2013 that the USG adopt corequisite remediation as the default method of remediation. By fall of 2015 the majority of Learning Support students at the majority of USG institutions were enrolled in corequisite Learning Support courses while also enrolled in gateway college courses (ENGL 1101 or Area A mathematics courses). At that time, prerequisite Learning Support courses, dubbed “Foundations Learning Support” were made available for the least-prepared students.
Subsequent data, based on the experiences of students placed in Foundations-level and Corequisite Learning Support courses since fall 2015, showed that students at all levels of preparation were more likely to complete gateway courses in English and mathematics if they started in Corequisite Learning Support. Therefore, starting in fall 2018, Corequisite Learning Support was mandated to be the only form of Learning Support in the USG.
Below, you will find links to the current recommendations for Learning Support in Georgia, as well as links to organizations that support developmental education (Learning Support), archived Task Force and Ad Hoc Committee Reports, and other useful resources.
- Learning Support is a generic term for programs designed to assist students who may need assistance to succeed in entry-level collegiate courses in English (reading and writing) and mathematics. As used in the University System of Georgia (USG), Learning Support is synonymous with what is often called remediation, remedial studies, developmental education, or developmental studies in other states and systems.