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Global Skills for College Completion
SRI provided formative evaluation services for this Gates Foundation effort to improve faculty instructional practice and thereby increase college graduation rates.
Doubling the number of young adults with college degree in the United States by 2020 is the overall goal of the Global Skills for College Completion (GSCC) project.
One way of achieving this is to improve faculties’ instructional practices.
Accordingly, the GSCC project involves designing an online faculty development system for community college developmental education instructors in mathematics and English. La Guardia Community College in New York, and Knowledge in the Public Interest, which uses social media to build learning and leadership in education, are leading the effort. Support is provided by The League for Innovation in the Community College as the fiscal agent. SRI is providing formative evaluation services to support system design.
In GSCC’s design phase, faculty members posted into an online ePortfolio weekly descriptions of their learning objectives, practice, materials, and student artifacts, along with self-reflections on the lesson. SRI reviewed the literature on developmental education instruction and student engagement research to assist GSCC analysts in using the ePortfolio data. Analysts produced a set of 26 themes or “tags” characterizing key elements of instruction.
The first phase of formative evaluation focused on having a community of online faculty use that set of pedagogical tags to note what instructional approaches they used in community collegethe lessons they document in their ePortfolios. By aggregating the tags faculty members place in their own ePortfolio repositories of classroom practice, SRI developed a new representation of instructor practice—the pedagogical pattern. This pattern showed faculty members the kinds of pedagogical approaches they use most and least frequently over time. SRI also examined how reliably faculty members self-tag their instruction and found initial positive results.
In the next design phase, we examined how faculty members use these pedagogical patterns to reflect on their instructional practice and set goals for improvement. In the final design phase, SRI examined how the online database develops and how its resources may be accessed and used in a range of ways, from those requiring minimal time to those more conducive to use within a formal certification program.