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Learning Support (Formerly A-100) : 2.03.00.02 (Formerly A-100)

Policy/Guideline Area

Academic Policies

Applicable Divisions

Community Colleges

Purpose

This policy reflects the commitment of The College System of Tennessee and its institutions to enhance access to and success in post-secondary education for all students. The policy presents the parameters for the delivery of academic support made available for students who may require additional assistance for developing competency in reading, writing, and/or math needed for success in college level courses. This policy supports TBR Policy 2.03.00.00 (Admission at the Community Colleges) and 2.03.00.03 (English Language Learners).

Definitions

  • Learning Support is the academic support needed by a student to be successful in college level general education courses and/or to meet minimum reading, writing, and mathematics competencies as required by faculty in programs that do not require general educations courses in reading, writing and/or mathematics. The purpose of learning support is to enhance academic success in college level courses and increase the likelihood of program completion that will prepare students for career success in their chosen field of study. 
  • Co-Requisite Learning Support is the linking of Learning Support courses or experiences, with an appropriate college level course that is required in the student's chosen field of study, so that the student is enrolled concurrently in both Learning Support and appropriate college level courses that are applicable to the student's academic pathway.
  • Valid Assessment Scores are those recognized from sources approved by the Vice Chancellor (exhibit 2) that are no more than five years old prior to the first day of class for the student's entering term.

Policy/Guideline

  1. Each community college in the College System of Tennessee must provide academic support, known as Learning Support, using the framework provided in the “Fundamental Features of Co-Requisite Remediation” (exhibit 1).
  2. The delivery of Learning Support must be in accordance with the procedures specified below.
  3. Exceptions to this policy or procedure must be approved in writing by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Procedures

  1. Assessment and Placement
    1. Students who do not present valid ACT, SAT, or other approved valid assessment scores, that demonstrate college readiness based upon established cut scores, or other documentation to the contrary (exhibit 2), will be placed into the appropriate co-requisite learning support course(s) or interventions for reading, writing, and/or mathematics as defined by the academic program requirements.
    2. Students with transferable college-level courses may be exempt from the corresponding co-requisite learning support course(s) or completing assessments.
    3. Academic programs that do not require specific college level courses, i.e., in math, English, or reading intensive courses used for placement, may have faculty-prescribed learning support courses established as prerequisites/co- requisites specific to the degree program or certificate if deemed necessary for workforce readiness in the field of study.
    4. Institutions will provide, or may require, assessment(s) to allow students to challenge placement into co-requisite learning support if they have not met established criteria.
      1. The challenge assessment will be a TBR approved nationally normed, standardized assessment that will be identified in the institution’s Catalog and/or Student Handbook and listed as one of the approved options in (exhibit 2).
      2. In addition to this assessment, the institution may choose to require a writing sample for placement in ENGL 1010.
    5. Degree Seeking Students: Degree seeking students, either first-time or transfer, entering without valid assessment scores, or transferable college level credit, will be enrolled into the appropriate subject area co-requisite learning support course along with the paired college level course or may be given the option of challenge testing to place into college level courses without learning support.
    6. Special Students: Non-Degree Seeking/Certificate Programs
      1. Non-degree seeking students entering without transferable college- level courses will be subject to the same placement standards and procedure prior to enrollment in college level general education courses that are subject to learning support criteria. The designation of the reading-intensive course to be accepted as transferable will be made by the receiving institution.
      2. Students who change to degree-seeking status will be assessed under guidelines for degree seeking students.
      3. For students desiring to take one or more courses for personal or professional development, the institution will establish a policy to address the need for assessment.
  2. Parameters
    1. Organizational Structure
      1. The president of each institution will determine the organizational structure and coordination of learning support services for the institution.
      2. Each institution will establish criteria for the selection of learning support faculty consistent with professional standards within the discipline and SACSCOC accreditation standards.
      3. Institutional policies will apply to faculty and staff whose primary role is learning support.
    2. Learning Support Framework
      1. Institutions will develop a co-requisite plan for reading, writing, and math as referenced by the Fundamental Features of Co-Requisites Remediation document. (exhibit 1)
      2. Learning Support plans and delivery must not delay enrollment of students into appropriate college level courses applicable to the chosen program of study. Learning Support must be provided concurrently with required college level courses, rather than prior to enrolling in required college level courses.
        1. Learning support competencies should be addressed as quickly as possible, beginning with the student’s first semester. Students requiring learning support in multiple areas must address at least one subject area per term until all learning support requirements are completed or satisfied.
        2. When placement requires remediation in more than one subject area, learning support competencies may require more than one semester of work, but should be completed within the first 30 semester credit hours. In this case, it may be appropriate to address literacy requirements prior to math.
      3. Only learning support at the high school level as defined by Tennessee Department of Education qualifies for federal financial aid. (Federal Student Aid Handbook, Volume 1, Chapter 1 – Student Eligibility 2016-2017)
      4. Unless noted as an exception (see next item), learning support will be provided through co-requisite delivery with college level courses that have been approved by the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.
      5. As an exception, stand-alone learning support may be provided only on a limited basis to support students whose program does not require college-level math, and/or English 1010, and/or reading intensive courses, but the program requirements established by the faculty do include successful demonstration of learning support competencies.
      6. Full-time faculty who teach college-level courses must be involved in the development of appropriate co-requisite learning support curricula and delivery plans that support the linked college-level courses. It is recommended that either the same faculty member teach the support and linked college level course, or that the individuals who teach these paired courses have routine communication to identify ways to improve student success.
      7. The learning support course or experience must address the competencies determined to be appropriate for college readiness (exhibits 3, 4, and 5), and must be aligned with the competencies required in the linked college-level course to facilitate successful completion of the college-level course.
      8. Community colleges may provide learning support through credit- bearing courses or non-credit interventions.
      9. With Board approval, learning support lab fees may be established in lieu of tuition.
      10. Credit hours assigned to pre-college level learning support should be kept to a minimum, and must allow students to satisfy the learning support requirements for any given academic program with at most 3 semester credit hours defined in any subject area and a total of no more than 9 semester credit hours to define all three subject areas combined. If a student changes to a program that requires an algebra-based math, additional learning support may be applicable.
      11. “Learning Strategies” will not be offered as a required learning support course. While these skills should be incorporated across the curriculum, learning strategies should be addressed in the first-year experience college success course.
      12. Regarding the students receiving VA benefits, each institution will ensure that learning support is provided in compliance with the eligibility provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (38 CFR Ch.1 § 21.4200 et seq.), including requirements for class attendance.
    3. Student Records
      1. Students will demonstrate mastery of the defined Learning support competencies at a level comparable to a passing grade.
      2. Successful completion of a student’s learning support requirements will be recorded on the student’s academic record with or without the assignment of standard grades. Pass/Fail may be used in lieu of assigned grades.
      3. Institutions are encouraged to provide academic support in a variety of ways other than learning support courses.  This is especially true for efforts to close achievement gaps or otherwise serve the needs of target populations.
      4. Student progress and completion of learning support requirements will be recorded in Banner and posted to the academic record.
    4. Student Transfers Among TBR Community Colleges
      1. Student learning support information will be provided upon request. When a transcript is requested, the institution must send placement and enrollment status reports for transferring students that includes student record of progress and completion of learning support competencies or courses.
      2. Institutions must honor approved standardized assessment scores (exhibit 2) sent as official documents from another community college in the College System of Tennessee.
      3. Regardless of the strategies and activities used to provide learning support, once mastery learning has been documented by the institution, all TBR institutions must accept that documentation.
      4. If mastery learning for required competencies has not been documented as satisfied, the receiving institution will default to co- requisite learning support. The institution may provide the opportunity for challenge testing.
  3. Accountability - Evaluation of the learning support services is a continuous improvement process. The institution will monitor TBR established benchmarks and annual performance indicators to demonstrate progress of students who are placed in learning support.
    1. Measures of Success
      1. Success will be measured by: 1) student completion of learning support, 2) enrollment and success in college entry-level courses for which students have received learning support, 3) fall to fall retention, 4) graduation rates, and 5) time to graduation.
      2. Additional data measures may be established and reported by the institution to document and evaluate efforts to increase student access and success.

Exhibits

Sources

Authority

T.C.A. § 49-8-203, T.C.A. § 49-7-147 Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010.

History

Approved at Presidents Meeting August 17, 2010 (Revised former guideline A-100, Basic/Developmental Studies Program (DSP) Operational Guidelines); Presidents meeting February 14, 2012. Revisions approved at Presidents Meeting November 8, 2016. Revised and changed to policy, Board Meeting March 21, 2019.