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Press Release



September 27, 2017


Developmental English course at Cowley College continuing to demonstrate success


The recent review of the Performance Agreement report for Academic Year 2016 showed Cowley College continues to increase its success rate among students in the developmental English course. Since the 2014 Academic Year, Cowley has shown a 66 percent increase in the course success rate.

Humanities Department Chair Marlys Cervantes said one of the most exciting bits of knowledge about this success is that prior to establishing the accelerated learning program (ALP) for English, the success rates were figured considering students passing Composition I within two years of passing the developmental English course. Now, a very large portion of those students pass both in the same semester, giving them transferable core classes early on.

“This is a huge factor for retention of students,” Cervantes said. “All best practices went into establishing this program. We went to conferences, worked with the best and most prestigious providing research in the field, and then molded Cowley’s program to best fit our student base.”

When Cowley implemented the accelerated learning program they were among the first and maybe only ever to attempt that.

“Even Peter Adams, a pioneer in using this method for English courses, was intrigued with our approach and stated wishing they’d done the same with their implementation,” Cervantes said. “So, the leaders were keeping an eye on us and our success. That was exciting, but what was important to us was Cowley students.”

Several of the initial research and implementation team that worked with Cervantes are still at Cowley, including Julie Kratt, Deborah Layton, Amy McWhirt, and Dianne Flickinger. In addition to these individuals, newer faculty members, Ryan Doom, Kirsten dos Santos, Jennifer Rupp, and Kyle Hays, all work with the program, as do long term adjuncts who are also helping students make great strides using this program.

“This was and continues to be a true team collaboration for the betterment of our program for our students,” Cervantes said. “For me, the most exciting part of this current report is seeing that the numbers have shown continued success. We felt certain we would initially see very positive changes, but to sustain and even improve on that success is remarkable. I am so thankful to all of those in the department who have been part of this successful venture.”