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Submitted By: Andreea Serban, Coast Adult Education Consortium

Adult school, college pilot program to reduce need for remedial college

The Challenge

The Coast Adult Education Consortium found that adult education students tended to perform poorly on the college math placement test and often had to take remedial math courses due to gaps in math preparation. Having to take remedial courses delays when students can start taking credit-bearing, transferable courses and increases the chances of students dropping out of community college. Research suggests that successful transition programs provide students with the content knowledge and college readiness skills they need to do well in a college setting. The consortium set out to find a way to ensure that adult education students in the region were well-prepared for college-level math.

The Solution

Huntington Beach Adult School and Golden West College collaborated to design and pilot a program that addressed the math preparation challenge and also incorporated college readiness elements. The COLLG100 course was carried out over eight weeks, with adult education students participating in a self-paced workshop/course designed to prepare them for college-level mathematics. Students took pre-tests to determine their level of math preparation and engaged in a self-paced, online program that was complementary to face-to-face instruction by an instructor and a peer-student trained in supplemental instructional math methodologies. Following the content instruction, students participated in college-success workshops.


Since the launch of the pilot program in spring 2016, Golden West College has made significant gains in developing short-term math preparation courses that customize and target remedial instruction, focusing only on the concepts that students have not yet mastered. The consortium has tailored the courses for adult learners and has provided the courses at a time just prior to their graduation from the adult education school, which can be at any time of the year, to position them for the highest possible success on the college math placement test. Additionally, Golden West College guides students to “bridge” educational programs in mathematics and English availed to them during the summer term following graduation from the adult school. The intent is to ease the transition to college-based workshops and courses and to provide a College Readiness Certificate.

The Data

Five of the 7 students who enrolled in the COLLG100 course successfully completed it and received passing grades, with one student planning to attend Golden West College in fall 2017. In addition, seven students completed the math workshops in preparation for basic skills.

The program was created based on data obtained from a similar program designed for and implemented with local high school students who intended to enroll in a community college or university. In such a program, 74 percent of the participants advanced at least one level on the mathematics placement test following the eight-week mathematics instructional program. Eighty-eight percent of the participants indicated that they were “very satisfied” with the workshop that addressed skills necessary for college success. Therefore, the program implemented with adult education students is based on the success of a proven program offered in a similar partnership. Work completed by the fall 2016 semester revealed that adult school students have diverse needs and skill levels. The two opportunities offered to students in spring 2017, then, were tailored to those observations/data.

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