Nearly 60% of students entering community colleges aren’t prepared to take college-level vocational or educational classes and require non-credit remedial courses in math, reading, and writing before they can start on their vocational or academic degrees. Taking months, or even years, of high school-level courses in these subjects before being able to advance to credit courses and start working towards their credentials extends the time and money it takes for students to complete their degrees. The frustration and discouragement this often leads to is apparent in the completion rate: only about a quarter of students who start out taking remedial courses complete a degree in eight years.
Washington community colleges are combating this drop-out rate with their innovative program called I-BEST (Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training), which offers credit courses that teach basic math, reading, and writing skills alongside the technical skills students will need once they complete their credentials. Areas in which colleges offer I-BEST programs include accounting, business clerical skills, information technology, nursing, and academic transfer, among others. In I-BEST, students are taught basic academic skills that they will use in their chosen careers in the context of how they’ll be used on the job. There are two instructors in each I-BEST course: a basic-skills teacher and a subject expert. The basic-skills teacher lectures on the subject area for the first part of class, then the students immediately go to the lab portion of class where the subject expert teaches job procedures, applying what students have just learned in the lecture. The program has been replicated by colleges in 29 other states.
I-BEST has proven to be highly beneficial in the following ways:
Accelerated the speed at which subjects are taught: Many students don’t need an entire semester or year of remedial coursework, only strengthening in certain areas. I-BEST fills the gaps in students’ skills by concentrating on what they need to know for their career paths. In addition, the direct connection between academic work and job skills improves retention of learned basic skills knowledge.
Increased likelihood of earning a vocational or academic degree: Taking non-credit remedial courses can cause a financial strain, as many students may run out of money for credit courses before completing their credentials or even taking a single credit course. I-BEST offers basic skills intermingled with career courses for credit, allowing students to take the courses they want from the beginning. It also lays out a clearer pathway for what courses to take in order to complete a credential or work toward a degree. As a result, over 80% of I-BEST students have completed their credentials or returned for another quarter.
Produces long-term economic benefits: Students who have completed at least a year of college-level classes and earned a credential obtained better jobs and saw a significant increase in earnings.
Labyrinth Learning’s Payroll Accounting, 2nd Edition combines case studies, concepts, and hands-on exercises, both in text and in our new Homework Grader feature in eLab, to teach students the theories and practical skills of payroll accounting. Contact us to learn more about how this and our other Business and Accounting solutions can help your students to succeed in their careers.