The Learning MarketSpace, January 2010from the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT)
A quarterly electronic newsletter of the National Center for Academic Transformation highlighting ongoing examples of redesigned learning environments using technology and examining issues related to their development and implementation.

Changing the Equation: Scaling a Proven Innovation
With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT) recently announced a major program, Changing the Equation. The program will engage the nation’s community colleges in a successful redesign of their remedial/developmental math sequences (i.e., all mathematics courses offered at the institution prior to the first college-level math course.) The goal of this new redesign program is to improve student learning outcomes in remedial/developmental math while reducing costs for both students and institutions using NCAT’s proven redesign methodology. Institutions will be selected to participate in the program through a competitive application process described in the program’s Application Guidelines and will receive a $40,000 grant to support the implementation of their redesigns. Those institutions will be expected to pilot their redesign plans in spring 2011 and fully implement their plans in fall 2011.

Extreme Makeover College Edition: The Transformative Power of Course Redesign
In 2002, a whopping 45 percent of students taking introductory “College Algebra” at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) failed the course. Of concern just on principle, that statistic was even more troubling given that the course was required for students majoring in business, nursing, education, engineering and many other disciplines.

Three years later, though, UMSL’s pass rate for “College Algebra” had improved to 75 percent. What’s more, better scores on comprehensive tests showed that student learning had improved. At the same time, university administrators were able to document a 30 percent reduction in the cost of instruction for the course.

What sparked that remarkable progress? Read further for the details.