The OACC Student Success Center brings ALP to Ohio’s Community Colleges

The Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC), the state office for Ohio’s 23 community colleges, received a Kresge Grant to begin a Student Success Center. Success Centers, now in four states, were developed to provide statewide cross collaboration and support. Ruth Silon, English faculty at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio, was hired to be the Executive Director. The main goals of The Ohio Success Center’s work are to help the colleges as they reform developmental education and to scale up evidence based practices. While at Cuyahoga, Ruth was the Project Director for the Developmental Education Initiative, and while attending various conferences, she heard Peter Adam’s ALP presentation. With DEI funds, Peter Adams came to Cuyahoga to meet with faculty and administrators, and ALP was started at the college.

Now in a statewide position and responsible for scaling up evidence based practices, the opportunity arose for Ruth to bring ALP to Ohio. Last July, 3 English faculty and 1 administrator from the 23 community colleges attended The Student Success Center’s two-day retreat entitled “Accelerate, Cooperate and Contextualize.” The almost 100 participants were divided into three groups and cycled through three workshops on each of the topics. Peter conducted three two hour workshops, giving his presentation and holding conversations with faculty and administrators from across the state. Faculty from the various colleges had the opportunity to discuss their acceleration efforts, in both college composition and developmental education. Michelle Zollars, English faculty at Patrick Henry Community College, led the Cooperative Learning workshop. Michelle was a perfect fit as she uses Cooperative Learning in her ALP classes. She, like Peter, conducted three workshops. The Contextualization Workshop was presented by three Ohio English faculty from different colleges. The emphasis was on the material and assignments used when contextualizing the composition class for specific majors. The purpose of the retreat was to encourage faculty to embrace the three areas as one model for teaching College Composition. ALP focused on how and why to accelerate students in to college composition; Contextualization concentrated on why it is essential to get students reading and writing about their intended career in a composition course, and Cooperative Learning provided best practices for learning.

2013-07-13 10.26.15Since the retreat, a statewide core team to promote the model and these practices was formed. In September the team held a conference call and discussed progress and concerns that have emerged since July. Rio Grande CC is going to be piloting ALP in the spring. Washington State CC is creating a dual enrollment program for students in the lowest level of Developmental English; they will take ABLE classes at the same time. Sinclair CC is going to hold a summit with counselors and advisors to help them really understand and place students in ALP classes, to help the college move from pilot to scale. The team will meet again during the OACC Student Success Symposium in December.

Jackson College

Jackson College Campus FallJackson College is located in Jackson County, Michigan. JC was founded as Jackson Junior College in 1928 and operated as a division of the Jackson Union School District, becoming Jackson Community College by county voter approval in 1962, then becoming Jackson College in 2013.

Central Campus is located on a scenic rural site south of the city of Jackson. JC also operates JC @ LISD TECH in Adrian, the Clyde E. LeTarte Center in Hillsdale, and North Campus near Jackson. JC is a comprehensive institution accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. With an average annual enrollment of about 7,000 students, JC plans to offer two bachelor degree programs in the future, and currently offers 39 associate degree programs, 33 certificate programs, and 44 skill sets and concentrations. The Corporate and Continuing Education division offers customized training for local industry and promotes the Michigan New Jobs Training program to support new employment in the area. Jackson College is an Achieving the Dream college and a founding member of the Continuous Quality Improvement Network (CQIN).

ALP at Jackson College

Celebration of Student WritingAccelerated Learning at JC started in Fall 2011, with four sections and a team of instructors who designed the course, pedagogy, and assessment. Over the past two years, JC has run a total of 20 ALP sections. Success rates have been impressive. ALP students outperform non-ALP developmental writers and college-level writers. For ALP students, 84 percent succeed in developmental writing and 75 percent succeed at college-level writing. By comparison, 68 percent of the non-ALP students pass developmental writing and 70 percent of college-ready students pass college writing. Fewer than half of the non-ALP developmental writers successfully complete college-writing by the end of their second semester. Because our ALP students succeed in both levels of writing at such a high rate, we have converted most developmental writing sections to ALP. The lead faculty member for developmental writing created a faculty manual and requires all instructors to complete an orientation before teaching an ALP section. ALP is helping us think in terms of emergent and developmental learning as opposed to linear and sequential learning.

Our instructors use the REAP model to organize ALP class meetings: Review what was done in the college-level class; Evaluate what is working and what is needed; Apply what we are learning by writing more; and Preview what is coming up in the college-level writing class.

ALP has spun off into other areas, using the same key principles. This fall, we have a developmental reading and a psychology ALP section and two math sections that take the ALP approach for beginning and intermediate algebra.


Reading is Thinking

JC is embedding active reading strategies across the curriculum with RAMP, a Reading Apprenticeship and Mentoring Program. RAMP involves monthly faculty inquiry groups, subject-specific workshops, demonstrations of reading strategy instruction for content faculty in their classes, and a “Reading is Thinking” marketing campaign. Now in the second year, RAMP has gained involvement and acceptance. About 130 faculty and staff have participated in monthly meetings, workshops, or mentoring. Jackson College formed a RAMP partnership with a local high school and provides monthly professional development and support for high school teachers to incorporate active reading in all classes.

The Community College of Baltimore County

CCBC Featured School

The Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) has an average enrollment of 35,000 students; with three main campuses and four extension centers, CCBC offers more than 100 associate degree or certificate programs.

CCBC is an Achieving the Dream Leader College and has gained a national reputation for its innovative programs in accelerated learning for developmental




CCBC is the home of the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP), developed by Peter Adams, a member of the English Department faculty.

Beginning with five ALP pilot sections in 2007, CCBC is currently offering 120 ALP sections.  From the beginning, data has consistently showed that ALP students pass the first-year credit course (Eng. 101) at a rate that is more than double the pass rates for students in the traditional developmental writing classes.  ALP is now being offered at more than ninety colleges around the country.


As CCBC began to scale up and more English faculty members became part of the program, the need for more focused faculty development became a priority.


Beginning in 2010, new and veteran faculty have been invited to attend ALP Institutes, 25-hour seminars for faculty development.  These institutes are based on three foundational concepts:  backwards design, thinking skills, and active learning.   These core concepts inform the instruction in each of the teaching topics discussed, such as integrating reading and writing, addressing non-cognitive issues, coordinating the developmental and the composition syllabi, dealing with sentence-level error, and culturally responsive teaching.