Integrated reading and writing developmental classes ‘real success’

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Nursing freshman Huda Omer writes a paper in the English lab Wednesday in Room 203 of Gonzales. The lab is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday. Word Play, the INRW Center, is open 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday and 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday. To schedule tutoring, call 210-486-1616 and 210-486-1433 or visit Rooms 118, 122 and 203.  Photo by Areana Rodriguez

Nursing freshman Huda Omer writes a paper in the English lab Wednesday in Room 203 of Gonzales. The lab is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday. Word Play, the INRW Center, is open 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday and 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday. To schedule tutoring, call 210-486-1616 and 210-486-1433 or visit Rooms 118, 122 and 203. Photo by Areana Rodriguez

2014 English refresher data shows a 78.5 percent success rate in a higher level course at this college.

By R. Eguia

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

This college piloted the current structure of developmental reading and writing classes in fall 2013 and officially launched in spring 2014.

Data on the performance under this new structure in 2014 was published last week showing a 78.5 percent success rate in college-level courses at this college.

Before 2014, developmental reading and writing classes were offered independently. Students would test into one of four developmental reading classes or one of two developmental English classes.

English Chair Mike Burton said the fail rate in developmental English and reading classes used to be immense.

Now developmental reading and writing classes are integrated.

A student is placed in INRW courses after they take the TSI exam and do not meet college-level requirements for English or reading.

The TSI exam is a computerized test that will evaluate reading, writing and math skills to determine placement into college courses.

It is required for most first-time-in-college students at the Alamo Colleges since 2013.

Once a student is determined to need developmental English or reading classes, they must enroll in the INRW refresher course, an eight-hour series of workshops that ends with an essay assessment that will determine which level of developmental classes a student will enroll in.

All refresher courses are free for students because they are not for-credit college courses.

Burton said about half of the students who complete the INRW refresher course advance at least one more level than the TSI exam initially placed them.

“Refresher courses place students more accurately than just a TSI exam score alone,” Burton said.

A student may be placed at one of three levels beginning with the entry-level developmental class INRW 0305.

The next level is INRW 0420, and the final level is a hybrid course called English Ready Set Go, which transitions developmental students into college-level English 1301.

This course includes four weeks of INRW developmental training. Students who successfully complete the course will be automatically enrolled in a 12-week college-level ENGL 1301, Freshman Composition class.

The integration of the developmental classes came after a national push to accelerate students through developmental courses and reduce the number of remedial courses, Burton said.

INRW Coordinator Michelle Garza said the process “has been fun. Before this, it was so confusing for so long.”

Garza coordinates the INRW  Word Play lab in Rooms 118 and 122 of Gonzales Hall.

The writing center and Word Play lab were separate until this semester.

The Word Play lab is dedicated to developmental reading and writing students and is also open to all students who reserve a tutoring appointment.

Garza said English and reading tutors are trained the same way and can help students in both labs.

For appointments, call at 210-486-1616.

“Students need human interaction,” Burton said.

“Writing is interpersonal,” he continued.

“We don’t want computer programs to baby-sit students.”

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