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Bringing student success to scale

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​A group of national organizations representing higher education associations has released design principles to increase the number of students completing college and to improve achievements for underserved populations.

The six principles focus on transforming remedial education and highlight practices such as placing most students into credit courses, with support to help them; refining math and other academics to align with students' academic goals; and helping students stay on track to a college credential.

The structure, which expands on one released three years ago, in an effort to update practices to help students master developmental courses, according to organizers. About half of all undergraduates and 70 percent of community college students take at least one remedial course; only a quarter of those students graduate within eight years.

"This represents a transition from a system that served some students well to a system that serves all students well," said Uri Treisman, founder of the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin, which is one of the authors of the guidance. "We've described the principles we see in common across this work and why it is especially promising for students from low-income and underserved populations. We want to add momentum and legitimacy to the work and embolden leaders to bring it to scale."

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The American Association of Community Colleges is among the authors of the principles, which also include Achieving the Dream, Complete College America, Education Commission of the States and Jobs for the Future.

The organizations noted that the document does not replace policy and practice guidance that they've previously issued independently, but it represents "a shared committment to work with state, system and institutional leaders to continue implementation of the principles."

Several other national and state higher education organizations have already endorsed the principles as a way to improve student success.

Next month, a group of philanthropies will meet with the leading organizations to explore where they can collaborate.

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