Community colleges work to facilitate developmental education

By ANJANA SCHROEDER
Capital News Service
LANSING – About 60 percent of students who show up at a community college need at least one developmental course in math, English or reading, according to Michigan Community College Association President Michael Hansen.
Hansen said, “A large percentage of those students – if they make it out of their developmental education sequence – their chances for actually completing a degree are much lower than the students that don’t get placed in.”
And Jenny Schanker, associate director of the Michigan Center for Student Success, said a strategy community colleges are using to alleviate that problem is communication with their K-12 partners. Schanker said there are two sets of people who need developmental courses – traditional students, 24 and younger, who didn’t do well and scored low on the ACT and placement tests coming into college, and adults, 25 and older, who have been out of college for some time. Many in the second category are displaced workers who come back to be retrained for a new career but may not have finished high school. One major initiative community colleges are engaged in is Achieving the Dream, a national effort to increase student success. Schanker said 17 Michigan schools have joined, including Macomb, Oakland, Montcalm, Jackson and Grand Rapids community colleges.