A Model for Accelerating Academic Success of Community College Remedial English Students: Is the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) Effective and Affordable?
The Community College of Baltimore County's Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) permits upper-level developmental writing students to enroll directly in English 101 (ENGL 101) while simultaneously taking a companion course, taught by the same instructor, that provides extra academic support. The aim of the ALP course, which has only eight students per classroom, is to help students maximize the likelihood of their success in English 101. Our results suggest that among students who place into the highest level of developmental writing, participating in ALP is associated with substantially better outcomes in terms of English 101 completion and English 102 completion, the two primary outcomes ALP was designed to improve. In the sample used in this study, 82% of ALP students passed ENGL 101 within one year, compared with 69% of non-ALP ENGL 052 students. More than a third (34%) of ALP students passed ENGL 102, compared with only 12% of the non-ALP ENGL 052 students. The current paper includes a cost-effectiveness analysis and a rough cost““benefit analysis of ALP. Our results also show that, compared to the conventional approach, ALP provides a substantially more cost-effective route for students to pass the ENGL 101 and 102 sequence required for an associate degree ($2,680 versus $3,122 per student). In our cost-benefit analysis, we found that the benefits of ALP are more than double the costs. With the methods used here, we can only make inferences about the correlation between participating in ALP and the outcomes observed. Because of possible selection bias, we cannot say, based on these results, that ALP caused these outcomes. However, because of the promising preliminary findings on the program, CCBC is in the process of scaling up ALP such that by next year, the majority of students who are referred to the highest level developmental English will be enrolled in ENGL 101 with the concurrent ALP support course.
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