Access to Excellence: Developmental Curriculum


2008 Update (PDF)

2007 Update (PDF)

A. Give a short identifying title (under 10 words) to this Action Project.

 Access to Excellence:  The Developmental Curriculum

 B. Describe the goal(s) of this Action Project (in 100 words or fewer).

To better serve current and future students by reviewing the developmental curriculum and co-curriculum to determine whether they reflect the best practices or need revision.


1) Develop a partnership with the College of St. Catherine (CSC) who has expertise in the developmental curriculum area–Augsburg Advantage at St. Kate’s  (AASK);
2) Review present entry skill assessments and developmental curriculum;
3) Define the structure(s) that can help us achieve greater collaboration among academic departments and offices serving under-prepared or achieving students

C.  Please identify the single AQIP Criterion which this Action Project will primarily affect :

Category 1: Helping Students Learn

D. Please describe you institution’s rationale for addressing this Primary criterion at this time.  Why is this project and its goal(s) one of your “vital few”?

Articles on higher education regularly report that one-third of American college students arrive at college in some state of academic under-preparation.  Augsburg’s data of students enrolled in one or more developmental courses confirms the national norm.  The future is unlikely to be different. We frequently hear that the future student pool will include more first-generation college students who will have greater English Language Learners (ELL) as well as other (not necessarily strictly academic) developmental needs.  Given Augsburg’s historical commitment to educating a broad range of students, we will need to give especial attention to our developmental programs to maintain or develop a curriculum (and co-curriculum) that is effective, but also efficient and economical for students and the institution alike.

As Augsburg finishes the implementation of its new general education curriculum, it can turn its attention to an area of general education that has received little explicit attention and no revision until now:  the developmental curriculum.  Although the new AugCore Curriculum has conceptually brought a number of independent pieces of the curriculum (entry skill assessments, developmental skill courses, an introduction to college course) into a conceptual “entry skills” category, we now have the opportunity to develop a  more holistic approach to developmental education, using the skills and knowledge of various departments and offices that have worked fairly autonomously. Our work on the first year (Founding Institution, CIC Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year ™ Project) also persuades us that a developmental curriculum should not only be “remedial.”  Roughly one-fifth to one-four of entering Augsburg students typically are first-generation students, who may bring perfectly adequate academic credentials to college, but may lack skills that more “college-experienced” peers possess.  We know that our honors students likewise have developmental needs—what worked in high school does not always work in college.  Thus, although the focus of the project is on under-preparation, at least portions of the project will focus on all students.

E. List the organizational areas (or institutional departments and divisions) most affected.

 Academic Affairs Division:

  • AugCore; Departments of English and Mathematics; faculty teaching Critical thinking;
  • Study Skills Coaches
  • Academic Advising
  • Specific programs:  CLASS, BRIDGE, TRIO
  • Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Assessment Committee

Enrollment Management Division:

  • Admissions Office
  • Institutional Research

Student Affairs Division:

  • First-year residence hall director (residence hall programming)
  • Director of Orientation
  • StepUp
  • Ethnic student services directors

Diversity Committee

F. List and briefly describe the key organizational process(es) that you expect this Action Project to change or improve.

We hope to develop a clear and collaborative entry skills assessment administrative structure to coordinate the departments/programs involved in developmental education, provide a clear decision-making process, and coordinate the developmental curriculum.

Augsburg’s current system of entry skill assessments and course remedies came into being incrementally and a piecemeal way. The new Augsburg Core Curriculum has conceptually brought these pieces of the curriculum into an “entry skills” category, but administration of these skills has remained diffused among various departments, making it difficult at times to coordinate what we do and to determine clear processes for reviewing and changing our practices. Thus an immediate task involves structure and through that, process.

G.  Explain the rationale for the length of time planned for this Action Project (from kickoff to target completion).

Two years will:

  • Give us enough time to fully develop a partnership with CSC and start learning from their expertise and experience–Learn how CSC identifies students who will succeed in its programs, manages the challenges of a cohort of students that may be working on the identity issues associated with being in a developmental program, how it assesses student progress and how it uses intrusive advising; learn what CSC does in its college-level content courses that Augsburg might want to imitate
  • Provide the time to research best practices of entry skill assessments (journals and other colleges/universities) and study models of developmental education at other schools
  • Help us establish a “developmental education” think tank and review entry skill assessment processes (year 1) and make appropriate adjustments  (year 2).

 H. Describe how you plan to monitor how successfully your efforts on this Action Project are progressing.

  • Evaluate AASK program in order to determine criteria for an effective developmental curriculum
  • Use LASSI to evaluate entry level skills
  • Developmental education think tank/committee will monitor and coordinate efforts
  • Collect and analyze LASSI (Learning And Study Skills Inventory) data on the entering class of 2006; identify 100 students to follow with subsequent testing using LASSI

 I.  Describe the overall “outcome” measures or indicators that will tell you whether this Action Project has been a success or failure in achieving its goals.

  • Establish collaborative structure that insures communication among all programs concerned with developmental education and provides adequate information for effective decision-making.
  • Revise or validate present entry skill assessment strategies.
  • Revise developmental curriculum, if necessary.
  • Faculty self-evaluations/syllabi  reflect changed pedagogies.
  • Use LASSI to predict likelihood of student success/persistence and employ appropriate intervention.

 J. Other Information

This was reported to the Academic Division in the August 06 AugCore update report.

I. Project Leader/Contact Person

First name:        Joan
Middle Initial:    L
Last Name:       Griffin
Title:     Associate Dean for General Education
Phone:   612-330-1045