Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 28, 2010

KCC is represented nationally

Remington Taum
Reader Submitted

This is the first semester that The Global Skills for College Completion (GSCC) research project is being conducted. It is collaboration between LaGuardia Community College, the League for Innovation in the Community College and the Knowledge in the Public Interest. This project focuses on 16 community colleges throughout the country.

Two faculty members at KCC have been chosen to represent the school because of their teaching and high passing rate in their classes.

Reid Sunahara, writing instructor, and LaVache Scanlan, coordinator for first year experience, were selected to work with the group of 26 faculty members participating in the research project.

The process of choosing colleges began with a total of 1,200 schools and was then narrowed down to 40 and at last, the current 16 colleges participating.

A goal is to increase the passing rate of below 100-level courses in math and English to at least 80 percent. The classes that are closely examined are the ones right before the 100 level classes: Math 25 and English 22.

The data is not only to help with increasing passing rates but to see how this project has affected the students after the 100-level courses.

" ... To develop a breakthrough curriculum and improve instruction in the teaching of math and writing basic skills," wrote the LaGuardia Community College Web site of the program's goals.

At KCC now, the average passing rates are at 50 percent, explained Scanlan.

"I think it's a great opportunity for us," said Kauka De Silva, Kahikoluamea department chair.

Nobody really knows why students don't pass their classes, but the Global Skills project is helpful in bringing in information on how to improve students' passing rates. De Silva added that it's important to see what practices are used across the nation and observe how KCC can implement them.

Those heading the project are looking for commonalities of how the classes are taught and add that into their data collection.

The project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and has been granted $3.6 million for the two years of research, stated the LaGuardia Community College Web site.

The teachers are required to participate in online discussions, submit an Eportfolio, which includes student work and lesson plans. Instructors are to also participate in weekly online discussions, film three of the class sessions and upload assignments as well as student work.

"I think in all I spend about five to six hours a week on the project, sometimes more," Sunahara wrote in an e-mail correspondence.

When the project began in January, the chosen instructors met in Phoenix, Ariz. The trip was planned to provide the teachers with training. Throughout the next two years, 14 facilitators will check in with the teachers and meet with them three times.

Within the selected teachers, there is a smaller group called a, Pedagogy circle. In this circle of about six teachers, LaVache explained that each instructor presents to the group to receive feedback about the lesson plans.

The participation in three choice events per semester is required from each of the teachers. One way to present in a choice event is to shoot a video showing techniques used in the classes.

"This is a huge honor, I feel grateful to be apart of this," LaVache said.

Chancellor Leon Richards explained that the remedial and developmental math and English programs is a concern on this campus. The GSCC project is a way to raise the percentages of students passing these classes and improve students' learning.

"We were highly elated that we were selected," Richards said. "We are very pleased that our faculty members can participate ..."