Feb 292016

Class Duration

Decades of falling student performance spur college officials to re-examine class duration at Trident Tech

Class Duration – Deanna Pan,Deanna Pan Email Facebook @DDpan,Feb 27 2016 7:00 pm


Another example of a top down, institution focused, one size fits all teaching, educational organization, that doesn’t understand that their operational goal is advanced individual student success outcomes, resulting in individual student, sustained, adaptive, performance improvement outcomes.

If your defined strategic goal is butts in seats, teaching to the test and compressing the class duration to increase graduation numbers, cramming test information into students heads and then immediately testing them on that information WILL increase graduation rates.

But at what cost?

(1) Since students don’t deep learn, adaptive skills this way, they are at best, graduated with superficial initial understanding of subject matter, which is soon forgotten. They have no information fluency, no ability to correctly and relevantly apply key information, so they are not empowered to correctly and relevantly advance individual, sustained, performance improvement.

  • The outcome here is similar to an event based, 400 person seminar, of multiple hour duration. Information is crammed into a defined time period, to ensure its covered, with absolutely no regard to student success outcomes

(2) The student experience is horrible, because the pace of information distribution is artificially defined, focused on positive test results, not real individual student learning and has no connection at all, to what is required for individual student success to occur

  • The result is increased graduation rates, which incorrectly reflects individual student success

(3) The 21st Century, deep learning research, if accessed, understood and implemented correctly, reflects that individuals deep learn adaptive skills over time, at their own pace, which differs by individual and deep learning occurs only through individualized, facilitated relevant reinforcement over time

(4) This flawed teaching to the test approach has been routinely utilized to advance high school exit exam completion rates and has been dis-proven to empower students with usable student success outcomes

This is a huge disservice to their students and is a short sided, institution focused,  panicked, uneducated, approach to improve nothing more than graduation rates. The student suffers, not only because of the information dump, but more importantly the student has endured a non productive one size fits all teaching methodology that has been artificially compressed for all the wrong reasons.

The simple formula that they have completely missed is: students = institution revenue; defined, measured, student success, performance improvement outcomes = more institution revenue. Alienating your students through institution focused methodology and artificial time frames negates the second key part of the formula;  New students will not come, which means no new student revenue.

Paradigm Paralysis

Where are the Schools Trustees?

Educator Improvement

Rankings Higher Ed

What Works – Compare Contrast to what they are doing



class duration
Class Duration -Trident Technical College President Mary Thornley addresses the graduates during the commencement in 2014 at the North Charleston Coliseum. Trident Technical College President Mary Thornley addresses the graduates during the commencement in 2014 at the North Charleston Coliseum. GRACE BEAHM/STAFF

Cory Bazzle is a former Marine. After five years in the armed forces and one deployment to Iraq, she’s used to long hours, sacrifice and hard work.

But she wasn’t prepared for the intense pace of Chemistry 110 at Trident Technical College. Not when the class was just seven weeks long.

PDF Employee satisfaction results

“You have homework and lectures; you have ridiculous amounts of work in lab. For every lab, you have to do a pre-lab, a post lab, a lab report — it’s absurd and I’m drowning,” said Bazzle, 29.

She quit a good-paying job as an aircraft electrician at Boeing last spring for the opportunity to advance her career with a college degree.

“It’s far too much information and the professors can’t even cover all the material. I’m thinking of transferring early because I’m really, really struggling.”

Two years ago, under the leadership of longtime President Mary Thornley, Trident Tech launched a bold and ambitious experiment with the goal of reversing decades of falling student performance: Starting in the fall of 2014, almost all courses moved to a “compressed schedule,” running at seven weeks instead of the traditional 14-week semester.

The administration justified the change with a trove of data showing students performed dramatically better, earning Cs or higher, when the course terms where shorter. This novel strategy, they say, has paid off. For the first time since 1991, more than 75 percent of students are passing their courses, up from less than 65 percent in 2011.

“It didn’t matter if you were 18, 45 or 50, black or white or purple, whether you were part-time or full-time, whether you were college-ready or remedial,” Thornley said. “We sliced data every way we could think of and every demographic showed improved student success on shorter terms.”

Since 2014, however, student enrollment has dropped precipitously, and faculty blame the compressed courses. The switch also has proven unpopular among students, who say they’re overwhelmed by the pace of their courses, and instructors, who say classes have been watered down and grade inflation is rampant.

class duration
In the 2013-14 academic year, Thornley imposed a new evaluation policy, linking student success rates to an instructor’s annual performance review. Although the administration claims there’s no evidence that grades are rising artificially, instructors are feeling squeezed. Full-time faculty don’t have the protection of tenure while adjuncts are competing for a limited number of jobs.

“This thing was ordained or christened to succeed whether or not the numbers would support it,” said a veteran humanities and social sciences professor, who spoke to The Post and Courier on condition of anonymity.

“Freddy Krueger could not match this house of horrors. This is worse than any Halloween nightmare I’ve ever seen.”

‘You have to do this for our students’

Class Duration – Read the Entire Article, Here


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class duration