Strong Start To Finish

Strong Start Arkansas

In 2018, Arkansas Community Colleges, in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE), was selected one of Strong Start to Finish's six scaling sites. With support from the Kresge Foundation and the Governor's Office, Strong Start Arkansas (SSARK) partnered with technical assistance providers as well as math and English faculty from all 22 public two-year and 10 four-year institutions to scale corequisite course design for math and English to dramatically improve completion rates for students. Ongoing supplemental funding, which began in 2020 through Strong Start to Finish, provides training in evidence-based teaching and learning practices to faculty and leadership for implementing English corequisite.

Hear From the Scaling Sites

Priority Action Areas

SSARK through its initial grant is focused on four priority action areas:

  • Phasing out virtually all standalone remedial courses in English and math.
  • Eliminating the use of a single placement test score for placing students into remedial instruction.
  • Expanding corequisite English Accelerated Learning Program (ALP).
  • Establishing and expanding math pathways across all institutions.

SSARK through its supplemental grant is focused on two priority action areas:

  • Substantially reduce the number of developmental education courses.
  • Implement corequisite English courses at scale.

Strategies at Scale

Through support from the Kresge Foundation and the Governor's Office and through professional networks of Strong Start to Finish, SSARK through its initial grant will scale the following reforms:

  • Eliminate standalone remedial courses for most underprepared students and implement corequisite courses.
  • Place most underprepared students in gateway math and English with corequisite support.
  • Support institutions to develop a policy of using multiple measures for placement in gateway math and English.
  • Ensure corequisite courses will be available for each college-level math course that is part of the Arkansas math pathways project.
  • Provide in-depth, data-based technical assistance to leadership and faculty at all SSTF institutions using regional coordinators.
  • Build out a comprehensive set of online resources on both the Dana Center and Complete College America's web platforms to ensure customized content focused on co-requisite implementation for practitioners.
  • Conduct workshops, phone calls, and interactive virtual meetings for institutional teams (faculty, administrators, and advisors) on implementation, improvement, and growth of English and math corequisites.

Through the support and professional networks of Strong Start to Finish, SSARK through its supplenental grant will scale the following reforms:

  • Provide research-based teaching practices for English faculty and campus leadership to implement at scale and continuously improve instruction.
  • Monitor institutional progress and procure needed support.
  • Conduct Individual site visits and tailor technical assistance to colleges.
  • Monitor college progress toward goals via data collection.

Project Leadership and Campus Involvement

Strong Start Arkansas will be managed by a leadership team consisting of top leadership from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) and leadership from Arkansas Community Colleges (ACC). Providing overall oversight and input on strategy and management matters to the leadership team will be staff from the Governor's Office and the Director of ADHE. This will ensure that the Governor's Office can support project implementation and that the project is aligned with state policy priorities.

All 22 community colleges and 10 public four-year colleges in Arkansas will focus on redesigning foundational English and math courses based upon evidence-based practices and with the support of the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin and Complete College America. Strong Start Arkansas plans to reach approximately 50,000 students a year by 2020 through the following institutions:


  • Arkansas Northeastern College

  • Arkansas State University - Jonesboro

  • Arkansas State University Beebe

  • Arkansas State University Mid-South

  • Arkansas State University Mountain Home

  • Arkansas State University Newport

  • Arkansas Tech University

  • Black River Technical College

  • College of the Ouachitas

  • East Arkansas Community College 

  • Henderson State University

  • National Park College

  • North Arkansas College

  • North West Arkansas Community College

  • Ozarka College

  • Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas

  • South Arkansas Community College

  • Southeast Arkansas College

  • Southern Arkansas University

  • Southern Arkansas University Tech

  • University of Arkansas - Fayetteville

  • University of Arkansas - Fort Smith

  • University of Arkansas - Little Rock

  • University of Arkansas - Monticello

  • University of Arkansas - Pine Bluff

  • University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville

  • University of Arkansas Community College at Hope/Texarkana

  • University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton

  • University of Arkansas Cossatot

  • University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College

  • University of Arkansas Rich Mountain

  • University of Central Arkansas