RANDOLPH, NJ - The County College of Morris and RHS partnered to offer a “College Readiness Now” program to Randolph students who may need non-credit developmental courses before beginning their degree courses. This summer, the courses will be free for Randolph students, including books, tuition and fees.
Randolph educators Jonathan Olsen, Anthony Zimmons and Benjamin Horwitz detailed this new partnership currently only available to Randolph students at the June 19 Board of Education meeting.
Based on placement testing, CCM may require these developmental courses for students before beginning for-credit degree courses. The presentation explained these paid courses take time away from work opportunities for these students, and data proves students graduate at lower rates when they need to start with these courses.
They shared one study from the Public Policy Institute of California stating, “Only 16 percent of under-prepared students complete a degree or certificate and only 24 percent transfer after six years, compared to 19 percent and 65 percent, respectively, of their college-ready peers.”
“This is a national problem, so CCM has reached out to us to help create a program for some of our students who are looking to go to college there,” Olsen said. “Students need to enter into college with firm footing, and… when they go in with developmental ed courses, they get easily frustrated.”
Throughout the past two years, CCM professors provided feedback to English students, supplemental instruction during lunch and tours of the campus to learn about the facilities, Horwitz explained.
Students found the campus tours especially helpful, because “a lot of students who enroll there aren’t even aware of some of the opportunities that are there for them,” he said.
In the fall, seniors who were planning to enroll took a practice Accuplacer exam. During the spring tour of campus, these students took the official exam. Horwitz reported 17 students were able to take fewer or completely test out of developmental courses than when they took the practice test in the fall.
Emmons focused on the math program and believes this partnership will help to “inform the design of fourth-year math courses at RHS,” so more students can place out of these developmental courses.
By working directly with CCM faculty members, the students had a rewarding experience building relationships with these professors. Emmons commented many students believe they will not have the same access to college professors as their high school teachers, but that was not the case working with this partnership.
“They had a very personal, hands-on approach,” Emmons said, “so it was very rewarding for myself and everyone involved.”