Legislative Update – March 2, 2018

A panel from Minnesota State presented before the Senate Higher Education Finance and Policy committee on Thursday, explaining the roadmap ahead for developmental education. Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Ron Anderson told committee members that over the last three years, there has been three pieces of legislation relating to completion and developmental education.

In 2015 lawmakers required Minnesota State to submit a report detailing the system’s plan to encourage students to complete credentials. Also in 2015, legislation passed that required the Minnesota State Board of Trustees, beginning in January of 2018, to submit an annual report on its activities and achievements related to improving timely completion, including seven completion measures. And during the last session, the Legislature required Minnesota State to prepare a plan that reforms developmental education offerings.

Yesterday’s presentation provided an update of the system wide developmental education redesign, as well as an update on reports on two of the legislative requirements: the developmental education completion measures and the developmental education plan.

Pakou Yang, System Director of P-20 and College Readiness, shared with committee members that developmental education courses are credit-bearing, and students are able to use financial aid to assist in covering the cost of tuition and fees. She said that although developmental education course credits do not count toward the requirements of degrees, diplomas or certificates, the coursework is critical in addressing the readiness gaps that many students arrive with when they enter college.

Senior Vice Chancellor Anderson explained that campus innovations have been implemented in the areas of reading, English, and mathematics and include evidence-based practices such as co-requisite programs, compressed schedules, learning communities, integrated curriculum, and math pathways. He said that wrap-around academic and student support strategies are also critical to increasing the success of students in developmental education courses and campuses have implemented early alert systems, academic advising, academic support centers, and/or peer and professional tutoring.

“Almost all of our institutions have embedded developmental education within the institution’s strategic plans, many have specifically addressed developmental education as a component of master academic plans, and many also have developmental education committees. This illustrates the significance of developmental education and its critical role in our institutions’ student success plans,” Anderson said.

Craig Schoenecker, Senior System Director for Research at Minnesota State, provided data to committee members regarding students in developmental education courses. He said that developmental education enrollments across the system have declined, developmental education completion rates have increased, and college-level course completion rates have increased. Schoenecker shared with members that the number of students entering in the fall taking developmental courses at the state colleges decreased by 40 percent between fall 2009 and fall 2015. At the state universities, the number of students taking developmental courses decreased by 19 percent between fall 2009 and fall 2015. Senior Vice Chancellor Anderson said much of that progress is attributed to the curricula and support innovations that have been implemented across the campuses, as well as to the partnerships with K-12, Adult Basic Education (ABE) and other programs focused on increasing career and college readiness.

Shirley Johnson, faculty member at North Hennepin Community College, shared with the committee the work of the Developmental Education Workgroup. She said that in the past four years, the workgroup, made up of Minnesota State faculty, staff, students, administrators, and system office leadership, has been reviewing and promoting national, system wide, and campus efforts to redesign developmental education. In 2016-2017, the workgroup developed a strategic roadmap for developmental education redesign, building on research and redesign work already in progress on many of the campuses.

Ms. Johnson said the developmental education strategic roadmap is Minnesota State’s plan of re-envisioning and redesigning developmental education to best support student success statewide.

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