Accelerated Reading Classes Offer Short Path To Success At GCCC
Students who arrive in college with the need to take a developmental reading course can now count on a shorter path to success at Garden City Community College.
That’s the objective of Michelle Branton, full-time reading instructor, who is offering an eight-week College Reading course that cuts the semester calendar in half.
“We have redesigned our reading program to make learning more innovative, personalized and compatible with the needs of the individual students,” Branton said. “We’re trying to combat the ‘one size fits all” notion of teaching and learning.”
“New approaches are critical to ensure our students have every opportunity to be successful in college,” she added. Reading is essential for understanding in all college subjects.
College Reading, providing three hours of college credit, is required for full-time degree seeking students whose entrance test scores indicate a need to strengthen their reading skills. However, it was previously available only as a full 16-week semester class.
“We have instituted accelerated reading courses for the convenience of the students,” Branton explained, noting that individuals who enter GCCC are directed to developmental courses in reading, math or English on the basis of their ACT scores or the results of COMPASS entrance testing. COMPASS is an acronym for “Computer Adaptive Placement Assessment and Support System,” and it refers to a series of American College Testing Service examinations that help determine readiness for college curriculum.
Among high school graduates entering GCCC, approximately 51 percent need to complete at least one developmental reading course, according to a report given in August to the GCCC Board of Trustees. Reading Improvement I, with the course number READ 092, is necessary for those attaining scores of 0-45 on the COMPASS test in reading. College Reading, course number READ 101, is for students scoring from 46 to 80.
“What we’re really doing is working to make reading as effective and efficient as possible for the students,” Branton said. “If a student can master the skills in a shorter time than 16 weeks, there shouldn’t be a need to devote a full semester.”
Like the full-length classes, the accelerated courses require completion of weekly online assignments in addition to classroom work. Branton explained that this helps students improve their skills instead of following a rigid curriculum that may not serve each individual’s needs.
The College Reading class is designed to develop thinking and reasoning skills for success in vocational, two-year and transfer programs. The credit is transferable and the curriculum covers improvement of higher order comprehension skills and reading techniques. It also helps students boost reading efficiency by applying critical and inferential thinking skills to college texts. A student must earn a C or better to qualify for enrollment in the college-level English 101 course.
The Reading Improvement I course emphasizes improvement of comprehension, vocabulary development and rate of reading, and students must earn a grade of C or higher to advance to College Reading. Credit for the improvement course does not transfer.
GCCC is offering the accelerated, hybrid College Reading course during the first and second eight-week periods of the 2013 spring semester. Branton, whose office is located in the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Building, may be reached to answer questions at 620-275-3250.