Abstract: HSE Foundations is a bridge course developed in response to data showing that many students were exiting the program shortly after completing our Student Success Seminar (SSS). Anecdotal evidence for their leaving included students reporting feeling as though there were no clear program plan and feeling lost upon entering classes that were already in progress. Additionally, CBP instructors faced the difficulty of working to shore up the knowledge and skills of incoming students while simultaneously providing stimulating lessons for existing students in order for them to continue progressing. In developing HSE Foundations, the team used location data in conjunction with principles of adult learning theory. The four-week course incorporates primarily in-class instruction along with a hybrid element created by working in Pearson’s MyFoundationsLab and is intended to start students off on solid footing. Following completion of SSS, students progress as a cohort through the four-week course which consists of 24 hours of language arts instruction followed by 24 hours of mathematics instruction, creating a “closed system” in which the 40-hour state requirement for post-testing is met. Because students remain in a cohort for a total of five weeks, this model also builds a sense of community, providing an academic support system to students beyond that offered by staff. After piloting HSE Foundations at one location in 2014-2015, a refined version was implemented at all program locations in August 2015. Early data since launch has shown outcomes that are on track to far surpass the goals of increasing post-testing by 5% and educational gains by 3%. With several sites having completed eight cohorts of Foundations, there has been a post-test rate of between 90 and 95%, and an educational gain rate of approximately 65%. The initial outcomes are a great improvement from past years’ data, and student retention has increased since the implementation of the course. Due to this success, CBP lead HSE instructors are working collaboratively to create a standardized, standards-aligned curriculum for all HSE I courses. The first of its kind in Rio Salado College’s College Bridge Pathways program, as well as in Arizona adult education on the whole, HSE Foundations incorporates a standardized syllabus of competencies aligned with Arizona College and Career Ready Standards. HSE Foundation’s in-class instruction, along with the addition of MyFoundationsLab, creates a hybrid learning experience that is a major step in standardizing HSE curriculum in the program.
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