As per SB366, FASS desires and recommends the following:
- FASS representation would be a viable presence in the formulation of guidelines for implementing multiple measures in the placement of incoming students, particularly since this implementation follows an unprecedented year in the education of graduating high school seniors, a year that was not standardized in its content nor approach.
- As SBE formulates the guidelines of implementation, it considers the actions of North Carolina’s college presidents. Specifically because of the pandemic and the resulting irregularities in high school education, community college presidents voted to postpone the full implementation of their RISE program, North Carolina’s developmental reform. After thoughtful discussion on the matter, Amanda Lee, president of Bladen Community College, commented on the process leading to their decision: “Perhaps there is not a one-size-fits-all approach for developmental education. The presidents opted for an opportunity to extend to their faculty the ability to design an approach that responds best to their local needs.” (https://www.ednc.org/2021-05-27-community-college-presidents-stop-statewide-rollout-of-rise-remedial-education/) The presidents are not abandoning RISE; neither are they forcing it forward at the expense of students falling through the cracks. This seems the perfect time to take a collective breath, evaluate where we are realistically, and proceed from there.
- While acknowledging the successes resulting from developmental reform efforts in our state, we also recognize that the requirement within SB1720 for intensive advising was never fully achieved throughout our state. With the mandate in this statute, no funding was provided to carry out intensive advising. There are still colleges within our state that have more than a 1000:1 student-adviser ratio. Authentic use of multiple measures for placement in advising will not take place in such environments. To their credit, some institutions have implemented online resources to attempt to reach the goal of intensive advising; however, many of the most vulnerable students, because of lack of access or skills, have difficulty navigating such systems.
- While we acknowledge the success we have experienced within our state due to developmental education reforms, we also acknowledge critical data is needed for what the reform reporting did not address, such as the unintended consequences of simply exempting students from placement testing based on having graduated from a Florida public high school. This is of specific concern because SB366 broadens the eligibility of exemption.
- FASS asserts that Florida developmental educators recognized the need for redesign and began developmental reforms before reforms were put into Florida statutes. Whereas the various policy makers who made recommendations to legislatures across the country based their recommendations on largely qualitative research dating back only as far as 2008 and viewed the correlations found as causation, Florida’s developmental educators began reform efforts based on more than 30 years of research in developmental education and adult learning theory and practice, including cognitive neuroscience as it pertains to adult learning. In addition, we note that policy makers, such as the Lumina Foundation, Complete College America, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, made no distinction between remedial courses and developmental education, undermining the efficacy of their policies, which have been implemented across the country. Indeed, we are fortunate to have experienced success in Florida. Florida has a wealth of expertise in statewide developmental educators, and we recommend and advocate for a holistic, scientific, adult learning theory-based approach in addressing the needs of incoming students in the 2021-2022 academic year.