Assessing Basic Academic Skills in Higher Education: The Texas Approach

By Richard T. Alpert; William Phillip Gorth et al. | Go to book overview

The TASP Program Summary

Introduction

Throughout Texas and the rest of the nation there is growing evidence that large numbers of college students and college graduates lack academic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics. Increased student attrition, inadequately prepared college graduates, and impaired social and economic opportunities for many individuals are among the significant negative effects of these weaknesses in academic skills.

The Texas Academic Skills Program (TASP) is an instructional program designed to ensure that students attending public institutions in Texas have the academic skills to perform effectively in college- level course work. The TASP will provide advisory programs and support for those students who demonstrate a need to develop the academic skills to perform effectively in undergraduate degree programs. Further, the TASP includes a testing component. The purpose of the test is to identify and provide diagnostic information about the academic skills of each student.

The major impetus for the development of the TASP has been A Generation of Failure: The Case for Testing and Remediation in Texas Higher Education, a report published by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) in July 1986. It contained specific recommendations about strategies for improving the academic skills of students in public institutions in Texas, including the commitment of resources at higher education institutions to help those students identified as needing advisory and academic skills development assistance. The report also recommended the creation of a test (developed with the ongoing guidance and participation of Texas educators) to ensure a common level of preparedness for Texas students. The TASP seeks to implement those recommendations.

The TASP Program Summary is a working document first distributed in December 1988 and again in August 1988. Its purpose is to provide an overview of legislative requirements and information about how the program addresses those requirements. In the form of a four-page flier, it is sent to TASP committee members, college and university campus liaisons, district superintendents, college presidents and vice-presidents, and high school guidance counselors across Texas.

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