Basic Skills Effective Practices Database
Literature Review and Overview of Institutional Examples
The approach to conducting the study combined the intense work of a group of associates of the Center for Student Success with iterative reviews of each of the three work products by a panel of faculty with extensive expertise in basic skills. In addition, drafts of each work product were reviewed by Dr. Carole Bogue-Feinour, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, California Community Colleges System Office, and Dr. John Nixon, Vice President of Instruction, Mt. San Antonio College.
For the purposes of this study, the following working definition of basic skills was established:
Basic skills are those foundation skills in reading, writing, mathematics, and English as a Second Language, as well as learning skills and study skills, which are necessary for students to succeed in college-level work.
In order to establish criteria for “effective” practices, this document adopted a variation of Hunter Boylan’s definition of best practice, modified as follows:
“Effective practices” refer to organizational, administrative, instructional, or support activities engaged in by highly successful programs, as validated by research and literature sources relating to developmental education.
Over 250 references, spanning more than 30 years, were reviewed, making this the most comprehensive review of literature in the area of basic skills conducted in California community colleges to date. Study after study by a multitude of researchers confirms a consistent set of elements that commonly characterize effective developmental education programs. These elements can be organized under the broad categories of organizational and administrative practices, program components, staff development, and instructional practices. A total of 26 effective practices emerged under these four major categories and are listed below.
Organizational and Administrative Practices