Nearly 100 of Chadron State College’s incoming freshmen this fall will take part in a writing co-requisite pilot study. The collaborative effort between the Transitional Studies Program (TSP) and the English department was designed to measure and compare the results of three new co-requisite approaches as well as the existing traditional model.

Tamara Toomey, director of Transitional Studies, said she became interested in the emerging co-requisite movement at conferences in 2016 and during discussions with her colleagues across the country. She said some states are requiring colleges to adopt the co-requisite model instead of the pre-requisite approach so students can advance with their studies in less time. A co-requisite course is taken at the same time as the next course in a sequence while a pre-requisite is completed before the next course.

“We want to be pro-active with trying the co-requisite approach. The pilot study will help us identify what works for CSC students and meets their needs successfully. We know the traditional model works, to an extent, and we also want to examine if there are other models which would help us best meet students’ needs,” Toomey said.

As part of the study, all incoming freshmen with ACT scores of 19 or lower in Reading or English were required to complete the English department’s placement test. The test results enabled approximately 70 students to test into ENG 135 or ENG 137 this fall, according to Toomey.

Students who qualify for a TSP English course will be enrolled in one of three new co-requisite models in addition to a fourth cohort following the traditional model. In the traditional approach, students take a total of nine credit hours over two semesters: The Academic Life (EDUC 121) and Intro to College Writing (ENG 111) in the fall, followed by Rhetoric and Writing (ENG 135) in the spring.

The pilot study will include the Plus One Model in which students with ACT Reading and English scores of 16-18 will enroll in sections of ENG 135 and a one-credit-hour lab taught by an English faculty member where they receive customized instructional support.

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The second is the Stretch Model that includes content from EDUC 121 and ENG 135, taught over two semesters. This six-credit option is designed for students with ACT Reading and English scores of 15 and below. Toomey will instruct the same cohort of students both semesters.

In the Additional Time Model, all students with ACT Reading and English scores of 18 or below enroll in ENG 135 and an accompanying three-credit lab taught by an English faculty member where they receive customized instructional support and student success strategies.

Following the Spring 2019 semester, when students in the pilot have completed four semesters, Toomey and the English faculty will assess the success of the models in meeting students’ needs and consider the data when planning future transitional and co-requisite curriculum.

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