Strong Start to Finish (SStF) will award four state higher education systems and associations — Colorado Department of Higher Education, Louisiana Board of Regents, Michigan Center for Student Success, and Tennessee Board of Regents — $230,000 each to expand ongoing developmental education reform initiatives.
These four grantees represent more than 100 higher education institutions, over 80 of which will be involved in their system’s SStF grant activities . Funding from SStF will support evidence-based developmental education reform efforts that aim to remove barriers and create conditions for every student to pass credit-earning courses in English and math in their first year of college. These reform efforts focus on multiple measures and guided self-placement practices, corequisite math and English courses, and math pathways that align to students’ programs of study. Specifically, each state system plans to do the following:
- Colorado Department of Higher Education will evaluate institutional approaches to multiple measures and self-guided placement practices currently being implemented across the Colorado Community College System. The funding will also increase capacity for corequisite courses at three four-year Hispanic Serving Institutions. Additionally , this funding will be used to better align K-12 and postsecondary math pathways and train advisors to support students transitioning to postsecondary education.
- Louisiana Board of Regents will develop professional learning opportunities for faculty teaching corequisite courses. Faculty from the state’s 28 public 2- and 4-year institutions, including four Historically Black Colleges and Universities, will participate in a community of practice focused on improving corequisite classroom pedagogy. These faculty development courses complement and expand on existing developmental education reform efforts in the state. All of these reform efforts aim to increase the number of students who successfully complete credit-bearing courses in math and English.
- Michigan Center for Student Success will develop a community of practice for institutions implementing guided self-placement. These funds will also create professional learning opportunities focused on improving corequisite math courses and strengthening math pathways. While the community of practice will target its supports to institutions currently engaging in guided self-placement practices, faculty at all 31 tribal and community colleges will have access to the state’s math-focused professional learning opportunities.
- Tennessee Board of Regents will use funds from this grant to support three community colleges that plan to implement innovative practices addressing the timing, delivery, and alignment of corequisites. Additionally, the state will develop a Learning Support Ambassadors program and a Learning Support Academy that will consistently convene a selection of faculty and advisors from all 13 community colleges. During these convenings, faculty will discuss best practices for corequisites and engage in shared learning throughout the grant period.
The grantees will work with SStF through 2026 to amplify these developmental education reform practices with technical assistance support from SStF’s partners.
SStF, a national initiative hosted by Education Commission of the States, supports student success by scaling reforms in developmental education across higher education systems and institution intermediaries. In particular, SStF pays attention to college success for Black, Brown, Asian American and Indigenous students, students with low incomes and returning adults who have all been underserved by the education system. Funding is provided by the Ascendium Education Group, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Kresge Foundation. Visit strongstart.org for more information.