Over the last decade, Montgomery County Community College has strived to improve student learning outcomes by developing and implementing innovative programs and processes that help students gain access to higher education and achieve their goals.
Through the College’s participation in Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count, a national non-profit organization committed to helping more community college students succeed, our faculty and administrators work with national experts to identify strategies that improve student outcomes. Our participation in the initiative underscores the College’s commitment to student access and success, which anchors our strategic plan.
As an Achieving the Dream Leader College and recipient of the organization’s prestigious Leah Meyer Austin Award in 2014, Montgomery is positioned at the vanguard of national efforts to increase completion, improve learning outcomes, and remove barriers to access. The College’s work in these areas garnered President Karen A. Stout a spot among an elite group of thought leaders at the White House College Opportunity Summit, designed to expand college access for low income students.
- New approaches to Developmental Mathematics and English – Redesigning the basic math curriculum improved student success rates by 20%, while introducing accelerated/refresher arithmetic and algebra courses saved students time and money without impacting outcomes. Similarly, adjusting placement cut-off scores, moving to a new exam format, and accepting SAT scores of 500 or higher has enabled 31% of developmental English students to complete college-level Composition I at the same success rate as the old model.
- Improved Student Entry and Advising Processes — Employing a variety of technology solutions, the College launched a Student Success Network, empowering students to connect with their support teams (faculty, advisors, support services) and map out their educational plans, while allowing faculty and advisors to provide early/regular feedback and referrals. A redesigned advising process also requires all first-time students to meet with an advisor prior to registering for classes.
- Focus on Financial Literacy — Supported by its participation in EDUCAUSE’s Next Generation Learning Challenge (NGLC) Breakthrough Models Incubator, the College developed “Montco Money Matters,” a multi-platform financial literacy prototype that introduces students to the concept of paying for college. A total 425 students participated in the pilot with 80% saying the course will influence future academic decisions.
- Expanded Mentoring – Extending the reach of the Minority Student Mentoring Initiative has increased participation and persistence while raising the average GPA of its students from 2.15 in 2009 to 2.45 in 2014.