TN Promise at Motlow my Motlow Academic ProgramsApply Now

Motlow State Community College
P.O. Box 8500
Lynchburg, TN 37352-8500
(931) 393-1500

Motlow State sees dramatic improvements in remedial student success

LYNCHBURG, TN (Feb. 3, 2016) – Motlow State Community College incoming freshmen who required remedial coursework achieved impressive results in their college-level courses in the Fall 2015 semester.

Almost 70 percent of Motlow incoming freshmen require remedial instruction in math, reading or writing. Prior to the fall 2015 semester, students had to complete remedial courses before enrolling in the associated introductory (gateway) college course. Consequently, very few of these students ever enrolled in, much less completed, gateway courses in math and English. Due to this lack of progression, less than 10 percent graduated.

Beginning in the fall 2015 semester, Motlow implemented a new co-requisite remediation, or learning support, model. Students enrolled in remedial math also enrolled in gateway math during the same semester. Students enrolled in remedial writing also enrolled in gateway English. With the implementation of the new model, the remedial students' success rate in the college-level math course nearly quadrupled, improving from 17 percent to 66 percent in one semester. The success rate of remedial reading and writing students in the college-level English course doubled. This success has resulted in hundreds more students completing gateway courses as compared to previous semesters.

These dramatic improvements coincided with another important milestone: the Tennessee Promise Scholarship program resulted in the highest freshman enrollment in Motlow's history. Subsequently, there was a record number of students who needed remedial coursework, making the improvements all the more impressive.

The new learning support model came about as a result of the Tennessee Board of Regents co-requisite remediation initiative. Key leaders in the state recognized that, of the reforms being utilized, the co-requisite remediation models were achieving the greatest results. The latest Motlow numbers certainly support this observation.

Implementing the learning support model was a formidable task presented to the academic community at Motlow.

"By developing strategies to meet the needs of both the learning support (remedial) classes as well as the college level classes, we have 'blown the top off' of the old process of completing all developmental classes before taking the corresponding college level course," said Dr. Cynthia Kelley, vice president for academic affairs at Motlow.

"The strategies implemented involve providing students with the support of a college level instructor and a learning support instructor," she continued, "as well as a course lab, also known as a tutoring center, where individual help is given and classroom instruction is reinforced."

Part of the strategy for student success at Motlow involves providing each student the assistance of a completion coach who not only assists them with educational needs, but also life challenges.

Additionally, the inception of the 'First Year Experience' class was instrumental to the developmental student success, as competencies for reading learning support were embedded in the course curriculum. This approach allows students to learn how to be a college student at the same time they are acquiring the reading abilities necessary to be successful.

"Through this newly integrated approach," continued Kelley, "We are building a safety net for students by providing a foundation for them to be successful. It is very personal and hands on and creates an environment that breeds success. Our goal is to make connections with the students. By doing so they are much more likely to get to the next class and on to graduation."

Kelley added, "We are very pleased with the results so far and are excited not only for the students, but also for the faculty, and for the opportunities for faculty to continue to solve problems and to improve by coming up with new and different ways to help and to teach students."

Motlow looks to reap significant long-term benefits from the success of the co-requisite remediation model as it impacts multiple funding formula success indicators such as student retention and graduation rates.