Community college students receive double the support through an unusual dual teacher program (2023)

Community college students receive double the support through an unusual dual teacher program (1)

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Everett, Washington. – Terrica Purvis, blinking through her glasses, carefully guides a dropper filled with liquid indigo into a clear test tube with both hands.

Community college students receive double the support through an unusual dual teacher program (2)
Community college students receive double the support through an unusual dual teacher program (3)

In the final chemistry lab of the fall semester at Everett Community College, Purvis follows in the footsteps of what chemistry department member Valerie Mosser jokingly calls a "post-apocalyptic survival lab" — a test that uses boiled red cabbage to test the audience's acidity household chemicals.

Purvis is in her first year of her nursing degree at Everett Community College. The 27-year-old is also one of more than 6,000 Washington community and technical college students enrolled in the state's Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) program.

Community college students receive double the support through an unusual dual teacher program (4)

Educators say students who need extra help in subjects like algebra have difficulty learning when content is presented in an abstract, isolated way. For this reason, I-BEST courses have two teachers in the classroom: one provides vocational training and the other teaches basic skills in reading, mathematics or English.

For Purvis, who has been out of school for nearly a decade, the lessons mean she gets extra math help when she needs it: in chemistry class.

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National data show that students who enroll in the program are more likely to graduate than students who attend traditional elementary adult education.

Among students entering college between 2015 and 2018, an average of 52 percent of I-BEST programs earned a degree or certificate within four years, compared to 38 percent of traditional adult undergraduate programs. Washington State Commission on Community and Technical Colleges.

The program has been so successful that 12 states have implemented or are implementing the I-BEST model in one or more educational institutions.

related:More than a third of community college students are absent

In the lab, instructor Mosser moves between pairs of students, answering questions about measuring pH and telling them that they never know when the skills they're learning will come in handy.

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Whenever she lectures or leads a workshop, she is accompanied by co-teacher Candace Ronhaar, who acts as a mentor to the students and an additional math support teacher.

During one meeting, Ronhaar took a marker and drew a heart on a whiteboard. Next to it, he wrote the word "mole", explaining that it was a unit of measurement equal to the number of atoms in 12 grams of carbon-12.

Community college students receive double the support through an unusual dual teacher program (5)

Guides students through exercises and calculates the molecular masses of compounds.

All six CHEM 121 students have also taken an introductory course in statistics, where Ronhaar is a co-lecturer. Mosser said Ronhaar's presence is the most valuable part of the I-BEST model.

"I'm an assessment trainer," Moser said. “She's just an assistant coach. In the minds of students the void is immeasurable. You have a different relationship with her. They prefer to go to her because she doesn't rate them."

Purvis, who describes herself as an excellent student, said chemistry was the first class she ever took that gave her "low self-esteem." In her opinion, without I-BEST she would not have passed the exam. Purvis said students who have finished high school are more likely to remember chemistry and math, but she hasn't studied those subjects in 10 years.

“We use abstract Sputnik-era math to sort by race and class. Mathematics has revolutionized every discipline."

Davis Jenkins, Senior Fellow, Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University

"They couldn't have had a better assistant coach," Purvis said of Ronhaar. "I love it. We go to her office all the time. She even jokes with us."

After high school, Purvis spent six years as a chef in the Navy and took classes at several other colleges. Last year he recovered and was released from the hospital and returned to Everett Community College to attend full time.

After graduating with a degree in nursing, she plans to transfer to UW Bothell to pursue her degree in nursing and hopes to work in hospital care.

related:Unlike other areas of higher education, commerce programs are popular

There is greater societal benefit than helping more students complete nursing school by providing early math help. Number of Active Caregivers in the United States as of 2020-2021Reduced by more than 100,000– the biggest drop in four decades.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2031, 200,000 new registered nurse jobs will be created in the US each year.After 2021So the job prospects for students like Purvis are promising.

Not only has I-BEST increased graduation rates, but its students also excel academically. Over the past three years, 90% of students have passed I-BEST with a C- or better.

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The program has been so successful that 12 states have implemented or are implementing the I-BEST model in one or more educational institutions.

The program is growing and serves a diverse student population. I-BEST enrollment in the state has grown more than 20 percent over the past five years. 46 percent of students receiving I-BEST are black, 55 percent are female and 39 percent have dependents.

I-BEST opens the door by providing federal financial aid to students who have not graduated from high school. Financial aid rules require students to have a high school diploma or to demonstrate "eligibility to claim" aid by enrolling in an eligibility program like I-BEST, where they learn basic skills as part of their career path.

In addition to nursing, other high-demand I-BEST career paths include aviation, manufacturing and information technology.

related:Many community college students earn degrees. The new proposed approach aims to reverse the trend

At Bellevue College, I-BEST students enrolled in Business 101 met with instructor Eric Nacke for a basic adult education class another day. Nacke teaches English in the context of the business world.

Student Forouzan Barfibafeghi immigrated to the United States from Iran in 2020. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the Islamic Azad University of Tehran, where she graduated in 1999. After returning to school in the U.S., Barfibafeghi said her biggest challenge was to learn english

She said Nacke's classes not only helped her improve her English skills, but also gave her a sense of community.

Community college students receive double the support through an unusual dual teacher program (6)

"Besides teaching the basics to get college-level English," Barfibafeghi said, "we can meet here. We have a strong bond. It's one of the highlights for me."

While classes were held entirely online via Zoom, Barfibafeghi said she became friends with many of the other students in her class. When she earned her business degree, she hoped to find work in the insurance industry.

For the 2021-2022 school year, 85 percent of students enrolled in Bellevue College's I-BEST program are female and 58 percent are first-generation students.

related:The New Job Market: Don't You Need a Degree?

I-BEST began as a government pilot program about 20 years ago when data showed that students needed vocational training to improve their job prospects.

The program aims to change the teaching model at most community colleges, where students who don't do well on placement tests are required to take prep courses for subjects they're fundamentally weak in — essentially repeating high school.

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Research shows that standardized placement tests often deliver resultsIt is associated with race and socioeconomic status.

The way high school math is taught hasn't changed much since the 1970s, despite changes in the job market and how the course is delivered, said Davis Jenkins, a senior fellow at Teachers College Community College Columbia University Research Center.

Community college students receive double the support through an unusual dual teacher program (7)

"The only purpose is to divide by race and class," Jenkins said. “The only reason is that people like me - I'm middle class - know how to use the system. It is bigger than I-BEST. … We used Sputnik-era math, taught in the abstract, by race and class. Mathematics has revolutionized every discipline."

In Washington, the state doesn't know how much the program will cost because I-BEST uses a combination of state, federal and other grants. But "they are more expensive than other adult basic education programs because the model requires two teachers in the classroom," said Laura McDowell, a spokeswoman for the state's community colleges.

The program could have been rolled out more widely if the cost had been lower, he said.

As Purvis prepares for her next lesson, the student hopes her future mentor will be as helpful as Ronhaar.

"She's by far my favorite coach since I've been at Everett," Purvis said. "We need her. She needs to be there."

This story was produced by The Seattle Times as part of Saving College Dreams, a Charleston, South publication in partnership with, the Associated Press, the Christian Science Monitor, the Dallas Morning News, The Hetzinger Report and The Post and Courier Carolina , powered by Solutions News Network.

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What type of degree is awarded to students at a US community college usually after two years of classes? ›

Associate degrees are awarded to students who complete at least 60 applicable semester-units of coursework.

How can you contribute to diversity and inclusion in college? ›

Ask people about diversity. Explore different faith communities in your local area. Speak with someone about their beliefs and practices. Research diversity, perhaps by consulting college literature, websites, resource centers, and organizations on campus.

What are some pros of attending community college rather than a university? ›

Top Five Benefits of Community College
  • It's More Affordable. Overall, tuition is going to be significantly cheaper at a community college than it will be at a university. ...
  • There Are Smaller Classes. ...
  • You'll Have More Flexibility. ...
  • You Can Transfer Your Credits. ...
  • You'll Have More Job Opportunities.

How can you contribute to an inclusive college environment? ›

Here are six strategies to consider in your efforts to create a more inclusive learning environment on your campus.
  1. Rethink policies. ...
  2. Ensure inclusivity is embedded in your institutional structures. ...
  3. Use inclusive language. ...
  4. Create goals and track progress. ...
  5. Help campus leaders understand their role.
May 18, 2022

What type of degree is awarded to students at a US community college? ›

Associate's Degrees

These programs often (but not always) confer an Associate of Applied Science degree upon completion. Associate's degrees are also appropriate for students who wish to transfer to a 4-year college after graduation.

What is it called when you graduate with two majors? ›

A dual-degree program lets you earn two credentials in distinct fields. A double major results in one degree with two areas of specialization.

What are the pros and cons of a community college? ›

Let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of community college during the pandemic.
  • Pro: Cost of Community College. ...
  • Con: Lose Out on 4-Year Friendships. ...
  • Pro: Community Colleges Tend to Be Local. ...
  • Con: Perks and Prestige at Four-Year Universities. ...
  • Pro: More Flexibility. ...
  • Con: Fewer Programs.

What is one benefit of a community college? ›

The resources offered at a community college are identical to a four-year university. There are resources like academic counseling, career counseling, and research opportunities. Since class sizes are relatively small, often 20 students or less, it allows for more one-on-one time with professors.

What is the disadvantage of community college? ›

Limited Curriculum. Typically, community colleges are 2-year schools. If you plan on obtaining a 4-year degree you will have to transfer to another university at some point. If you're looking for a permanent residence, this probably isn't the best place for you.

How do you build an inclusive community in college? ›

Below are four suggestions to take advantage of the opportunity to being an active part of creating an inclusive community.
  1. Use Thoughtful Language. ...
  2. Learn About, And Eliminate, The Use of Microaggressions. ...
  3. Identify And Acknowledge Potential Unconscious Bias. ...
  4. Ask Questions, Make No Assumptions, and Listen!
Feb 22, 2019

How can you contribute to a college community? ›

12 Ways to Get Involved at College
  1. Join (or start) a club. ...
  2. Work for the school paper or social media sites. ...
  3. Participate in student government. ...
  4. Become a tutor or teaching assistant. ...
  5. Participate in intramural or club sports. ...
  6. Look for opportunities to serve your campus and community. ...
  7. Join a sorority or fraternity.

How are you helping to build an inclusive community on campus? ›

Building Community and Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment
  1. Keep accessibility in mind. ...
  2. Learn about your students. ...
  3. Learn names and pronouns. ...
  4. Connect students to each other. ...
  5. Connect with students. ...
  6. Refer to resources. ...
  7. Next Steps.

In what 4 ways does inclusivity benefit students? ›

Some of the benefits of inclusion for children with (or without) disabilities are friendship skills, peer models, problem solving skills, positive self-image, and respect for others. This can trickle down to their families as well, teaching parents and families to be more accepting of differences.

How do you answer how will you contribute to diversity? ›

Your answer to the diversity question should focus on how your experiences have built your empathy for others, your resilience, your character, and your perspective. The school may well ask how you think of diversity or how you can bring or add to the diversity of your school, chosen profession, or community.

How do you promote diversity and inclusion in a community? ›

See below for six ways you can encourage inclusivity, according to our Love Has No Labels campaign, which celebrates diversity and promotes acceptance of everyone.
  2. BE AN ALLY. ...
Nov 1, 2018

What is it called to graduate with honors in college? ›

cum laude (GPA of 3.5–3.69); magna cum laude (GPA of 3.7–3.89); or. summa cum laude (GPA of 3.9–4.0).

What are the 4 types of college degree that can be received? ›

There are generally four categories of college degrees: associate degree, bachelor's degree, graduate degree, and doctorate or professional degree.

What are the 4 degrees earned in college? ›

College degrees generally fall into four categories: associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral. Each college degree level varies in length, requirements, and outcomes. Each college degree aligns with students' different personal interests and professional goals.

Is a double major as good as a Masters? ›

Having two majors does not make you an expert in two fields. Moreover, depending on the fields in question, it doesn't aid your ability to go onto graduate school. more useful for employment (I've never seen a job that explicitly requires a dual major but some jobs list a masters degree as a qualification).

Are two degrees better than a Masters? ›

If you are interested in making a career change or a large shift, a second bachelor's may allow you more opportunities in a new industry. If you want to stay in your current field and earn a promotion or qualify for more positions, a master's might allow you more opportunities.

Is a double major impressive? ›

A study published by Cambridge University Press found that students who double major in business and a STEM field typically earn more than those with just one major. You'll get a more well-rounded education and a unique skill set you can use in your career.

Is community college actually worth it? ›

Are community college degrees worth anything? Yes. Many students go to community college to earn a quick associate's degree and earn more than $50,000. They can even transfer to a university and complete a bachelor's degree later if they choose to do so.

What are 3 disadvantages of going to college? ›

Before attending college, make sure you consider the following drawbacks:
  • You Likely Will Graduate With Student Loan Debt. ...
  • High-Paying Jobs Aren't Guaranteed. ...
  • It Can Take More Than Four Years to Graduate.
Jun 21, 2022

What are 5 disadvantages of going to college? ›

  • You may not gain technical skills. ...
  • You may not get employability skills. ...
  • Contact time is less than at school. ...
  • You'll leave with a lot of debt. ...
  • You will be committing at least three years of your life. ...
  • You're not guaranteed a graduate job. ...
  • Lifetime earnings can be higher with an apprenticeship.

What is the value of community in college? ›

Students who are part of communities are more likely to succeed in college. Being part of a community is a key marker of student success, perhaps even more so than academic aptitude. Community helps breed academic success, from classroom communities to clubs and organizations.

Is community college a great way to save money? ›

First off, the cost of community college credits is, on average, 60 percent cheaper than at four-year public colleges. Therefore, a student who earns their first 60 credits at a two-year public school before transferring to an in-state college would pay an average of $11,377 less for a four-year degree.

How important is community college GPA? ›

It's a gauge of a student's potential and how seriously they took their high school education. There are some community colleges that will take you no matter what your GPA is. However, for admissions at the vast majority of them a minimum GPA for community college would be 2.0 or 2.5.

Why do people avoid community college? ›

Costs were too high. Direct financial costs were the most common reasons for early exit from community colleges, even though the colleges are typically more affordable than four-year schools. Over half of the former students in our survey, 53%, said they left due to the cost of tuition and fees.

Are community college students less successful? ›

A new study conducted by the Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy at Cal State Sacramento and reported by the Los Angeles Times found that the large majority of community college students failed to obtain a degree or transfer to a four-year institution.

Is there a stigma against community college? ›

Unfortunately, community colleges also exist with extensive negative stereotypes. As one researcher put it, “A lot of students believe they are too good for community college, or they could never attend there because their parents expect better or their peers will make fun of them…

How do you ensure inclusion in a community? ›

Tips to promote inclusion in your community
  1. Ask members to self identify by sharing their pronouns. ...
  2. Highlight diverse stories from within your community. ...
  3. Showcase members of your community with panels and lives. ...
  4. Work with fellow community leaders and communities to share your diverse perspectives.

What is an example of inclusion in the community? ›

Examples of inclusion are when students with disabilities are educated in the exact schools they would've attended if they didn't have disabilities; or when adults with disabilities fully participate in an employment environment and are engaged as community members.

Why is inclusion important in the community? ›

Social inclusion is important for a person's dignity, security and opportunity to lead a better life. It has been proven over and over again how important it is to support individuals to feel connected and valued within society and address any form of social exclusion people are experiencing every day.

How can I contribute to my community example? ›

1. Volunteer. Volunteering energy and skills to a local organization is a great way to give back to your community. Whether a hospital, food bank, youth group, senior's home, or animal shelter there are tonnes of local organizations that would benefit from your time.

What can you contribute to the team best answer? ›

How to answer, "what do you bring to the team?"
  • Consider your unique attributes or skills. ...
  • Explain how your unique skills apply to the position. ...
  • Explain your experience with similar teams. ...
  • Express your enthusiasm for working in teams. ...
  • Remain humble and provide honest answers.
Mar 10, 2023

What is most important in building an inclusive community? ›

An inclusive community:

Does everything that it can to respect all its citizens, gives them full access to resources, and promotes equal treatment and opportunity. Works to eliminate all forms of discrimination. Engages all its citizens in decision-making processes that affect their lives. Values diversity.

How do you encourage students to be inclusive? ›

These purposeful activities can show young people how to take the lead to be includers.
  1. Talk about Unintentional Exclusion and Encourage Empathy. ...
  2. Draw on Experiences. ...
  3. Teach Looking out for Others. ...
  4. Teach 'Friendly Invitations' ...
  5. Provide Opportunities for Connection. ...
  6. Encourage Kindness.

How can you support inclusive student participation? ›

Tailor activities to be as inclusive as possible
  1. Keep activities and instructions short, clear and engaging.
  2. Consider how tasks can be tailored to different student goals, strengths, abilities and learning profiles.
  3. Health professionals can help identify environmental adjustments.
  4. Provide additional time.

What is a degree awarded after two years? ›

Associate's degree A degree granted for the successful completion of a sub-baccalaureate program of studies, usually requiring at least 2 years (or equivalent) of full-time college-level study.

What type of degree is typically earned in 2 years from a community college traditional college or technical school? ›

An associate's degree is a two-year degree earned from a post-secondary institution like a community college or vocational college. They typically cost half as much (or less) than a bachelor's degree.

What is a two-year degree awarded by community colleges universities career schools and colleges? ›

An associate degree, which takes about two years to complete full time, is usually the highest degree available, but community college students can also receive certificates and job training.

Which of the following are also known as two-year colleges? ›

Community colleges, sometimes called junior colleges, are two-year schools that provide affordable postsecondary education as a pathway to a four-year degree.

What is a 8 year degree called? ›

An “eight-year degree” typically refers to a doctorate degree or PhD. Although some doctorates can be completed in as little as three years, these degrees typically require more time studying highly specialized subjects.

What degree do you get after 7 years of college? ›

Types of academic degrees
Academic degreeTypical completion time
Bachelor's degreeFour years
Master's degreeTwo years
Doctoral degreeFour years
Professional degreeBetween four and seven years
1 more row
Mar 16, 2023

Does degree awarded mean I graduated? ›

Once the date of official graduation arrives, the Graduation department will update your status to Degree Conferred.

What is the fastest associate's degree to get? ›

The associate of arts, accounting technology, business administration, and criminal justice technology degrees can all be completed in 18 months. The degrees in office administration, and supply chain management take 20 months to complete, still four months faster than a traditional associate's degree.

What is a 6 year degree called? ›

A bachelor's degree (from Middle Latin baccalaureus) or baccalaureate (from Modern Latin baccalaureatus) is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study lasting three to six years (depending on institution and academic discipline).

How many years is a master degree? ›

Master's degrees typically take two years to complete, but the timeframe can vary from person to person. Depending on your degree program and whether you're going to school full-time or part-time, it could take you less time to get your master's degree – or more.

What is a two year degree often found at a community college? ›

In the US, associate's degrees are available at various types of college, including community colleges, junior colleges and technical colleges, affiliated colleges of universities and university institutes. It typically takes two years full-time to complete an associate's degree.

What two-year college degree awarded after completing 60 credit hours commonly offered through a community college? ›

Associate Degrees

Commonly offered at community colleges and some universities, a full-time student can earn an associate degree – which typically requires 60 credit hours or more – in two years.

What degree is awarded by a career technical school or community college after completion of a prescribed two year course of study? ›

In the United States, an associate degree (or an associate's degree) is an academic degree awarded after two or more years of study at a community college, technical college, vocational school, Bible college, or university.

What is a 4 year college level degree called? ›

Bachelor's Degree - An award (baccalaureate) that normally requires at least 4 but not more than 5 years of full-time equivalent college-level work. Also includes bachelor's degrees in which the normal 4 years of work are completed in 3 years.

What is the difference of a 2 year or 4 year college? ›

Generally when you attend a four-year school, the degree requirements dictate that you take a general education and theory-based courses. Two-year schools focus more on hands-on education of the core classes, and also tend to provide real-life opportunities to apply your knowledge.

Why is it called a 2 year college? ›

A two-year college is often a community college that offers programs where students can earn an associate degree in two years or even a certification in one year or less. Two-year colleges can also be technical schools that specifically focus on career training, such as welding, carpentry or mechanics.


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