• Description

Acceleration in developmental education is a strategy used by community colleges to reduce the amount of time students spend in remediation and allow them to enroll more quickly—or immediately—in courses leading to certificates or degrees.

This report, produced by the Completion by Design initiative at WestEd, describes the importance of acceleration, explains how it raises college completion rates, and highlights the key principles of successful acceleration models, including:

  • Helping students avoid developmental education whenever possible
  • Revising the developmental education curriculum to shorten the sequence, align it with transfer-level and career technical coursework, and make it more rigorous
  • Providing additional student supports that are integrated with coursework
  • Providing remediation simultaneously with courses that lead to credentials
  • Customizing and contextualizing remediation along multiple academic and career pathways so that students learn math or language arts concepts based on their specific needs and on their desired instructional programs
  • Monitoring progress at regular intervals based on demonstrated competency rather than on seat time

Note: This is the first report in the Game Changers series, designed for use by community colleges to generate discussion about innovative models for increasing completion rates substantially. Each brief contains five sections—an overview, examples in practice, implementation challenges, sample engagement questions, and references. The sections can be used separately or as a whole, depending on the audience and needs.

Other reports in the Game Changers series include:

  • Providing Structured Pathways to Guide Students Toward Completion
  • Integrating Student Supports and Academics