Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Study Provides Instructions for Teaching Basic Skills

Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Study Provides Instructions for Teaching Basic Skills

Article excerpt

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching released a report in early December, 2008 indicating that community college faculty can improve basic-skills students' success by developing more effective teaching methods for students underprepared for college-level work. More specifically, the research focused on basic college mathematics and literacy skills and indicated that faculty should take a more active role in modifying curriculum and gathering data relative to student progress.

The Carnegie Foundation worked with 11 California community colleges as partners in a 3-year program for the study. It is reflective of California's renewed focus on basic skills, an important area of inquiry in a state finding more than 75% of their incoming community college students underprepared. Researchers found that faculty frequently would rather teach in their discipline/area of expertise than teach basic skills. The report also revealed that community colleges often inadequately judge the level of intellectual challenge involved to teach basic skills. In addition, administrative data collected on student success fails to measure the complex process of student learning.

The director of the program, Rose Asera, believes that the term basic skills is misleading to many: "Literacy is incredibly hard. Basic math thinking is incredibly hard, and we ease over it as if somehow it's self-evident" (¶6). …

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