CTC Hosted Leaders from Technical Colleges to Learn about Learning Support

(Marietta, Ga. – April 18, 2013) Officials from several of Georgia’s 25 technical colleges visited Chattahoochee Technical College Tuesday and Wednesday for a tour and discussion about implementing changes to learning support classes for students. All of Georgia’s technical colleges are preparing to implement a new design for learning support classes with a deadline of Fall 2013.

Chattahoochee Technical College became the first technical college in Georgia to implement all three areas of a new learning support redesign for the Fall 2012 Semester. The three course areas, which have traditionally offered extra instruction in such areas as math, reading and English, are now offered through a new computerized modular format.

“Students are able to move at their own pace through the classes they need,” said Chattahoochee Technical College Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Brenda White. “They still receive quality instruction, but the flexibility of the new design allows for a more individualized experience whether a student is looking for a refresher or really needs that extra instruction to prepare for some of the more advanced classes.”

Learning support class requirements are determined by placement testing as a part of the admissions process. Through a computerized test, students’ college readiness is determined in the subject areas of reading, writing/grammar, and mathematics/algebra. Approximately 30 percent of students take learning support classes each semester.

While the transition from traditional classroom to computerized modules has had some challenges, White said overall the experience has been beneficial to students. Comparing results from the traditional models of the classes to the new model, White said there were significant reductions in the number of students who failed or withdrew from the classes.

“We are making every adjustment to allow the students to progress as quickly through the classes as they feel comfortable,” White said. “Each student knows at the beginning of the semester how much work they must complete to earn a passing grade. They can complete that work in a few weeks or they can take the entire semester to do it. We are putting the control of the class in their hands.”

The objective is to provide additional support for students needing to learn or brush up on skills in math, reading or English before enrolling in credit courses in their degree and diploma programs. In addition to the learning support classes, the college provides free tutoring in its Student Success Centers, workshops, practice materials and other resources.

“We want our students to succeed and love what they do,” said White. “If they need an extra bit of help to get there, we’ll provide it.”