Two paths are better than one

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Trustees should improve, not debate two developmental educational methods.

The board’s Student Success Committee met Feb. 3 to hear the progress on two programs designed to make developmental students college-ready.

Based on the Texas Success Initiative assessment, first-time-in-college students (FTICS) who are not college-ready must take developmental classes before they can take college-level classes.

Returning students can take the developmental courses or earn one of 10 certificates through the Alamo Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training program (I-BEST).

In Melissa Sadler-Nitu’s presentation of the I-BEST program, 496 of 595 students in the program have completed or are persisting, giving the program an 83 percent success rate.

Meanwhile Pamela K. Ansboury’s presentation on developmental education revealed 64 percent of students passed their INRW (integrated reading and writing) classes and 56 percent of students passed developmental math.

District 6 trustee Gene Sprague argued I-BEST was the better method and suggested cutting the number of developmental classes.

Just because developmental classes do not have as high a success rate as I-BEST does not mean the program is not helpful to students, too.

Students who are not successful in developmental classes can choose the I-BEST program instead, which offers a quicker avenue for developmental students to become college-ready while obtaining a certificate in a discipline of their choice, such as medical assisting, pharmacy technician or information technology.

However, the I-BEST program is not a cure-all, and the developmental classes alone do not offer job opportunities.

Both methods have benefits, so let’s improve both instead of arguing about which one to reduce. First-time-in-college students need as much help as possible as they prepare to enter college, earn a degree and prosper in a meaningful career. Why not offer them two paths to get there?


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