Our rationale

Concerns regarding the lack of academic preparation of current high school graduates have been widely publicized. 

A recent study by the American College Testing program (ACT), “Crisis at the Core:  Preparing All students for College and Work,” reports that “only 22 percent of the1.2 million high school graduates who took the ACT Assessment in 2004 achieved scores that would deem them ready for college in three basic academic areas—English, math, and science.” This study further states that based on assessments from eighth and tenth grade students, the graduates of 2006 and 2008 will also lack academic preparation in these basic subjects (ACT).

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute has long been concerned about the quality of writing of entering students.  As evidenced by the 2005 Faculty Perception Survey, an overwhelming majority of faculty indicated that our entering freshman are not prepared for college writing, and 75% of faculty indicated that 41-100% of their students demonstrated significant weaknesses with writing. 

bar chart depicting developmental vs. college-level writing in Caldwell and Watauga recent high school graduates

Each semester, significant numbers of CCC and TI students place into developmental writing as measured by Accuplacer, a computerized placement test developed by Educational Testing Service.  A recent study of Watauga and Caldwell county high school graduates indicates that

  • In 2003, 104 out of 218 (47%) of local high school graduates attending CCC&TI placed into developmental writing. 
  • In 2004, 79 out of 199 (39%) graduates placed into developmental writing.
  • In 2005, 107 out of 229 (46%) graduates placed into developmental writing. 

These survey results indicate that a significant number of local high school graduates attending CCC and TI are not prepared for college level writing.

As most instructors realize, major changes in student writing usually occur incrementally over a period of time.  When asked on the 2005 Faculty Perception Survey, “How can the college best help you to employ writing assignments within your courses?”, the overwhelming response was “provide writing tutors.” 

Seldom does one 16-week semester of developmental coursework “fix” the writing problems evident in most developing writers.  Repeated instruction and practice reinforced throughout the curriculum provide the most profound change.  The CCC and TI Quality Enhancement Plan will act as a catalyst for this change in student learning.