"The guided pathways model is built upon three important design principles. First, colleges’ program redesigns must pay attention to the entire student experience, rather than to just one segment of it (such as developmental education or the intake process). Second, a guided pathways redesign is not the next in a long line of discrete reforms, but rather a framework or general model that helps unify a variety of reform elements around the central goal of helping students choose, enter, and complete a program of study aligned with students’ goals for employment and further education. Third, the redesign process starts with student end goals for careers and further education in mind and “backward maps” programs and supports to ensure that students are prepared to thrive in employment and education at the next level." (AACC)
Implementing Guided Pathways: Early Insights From the AACC Pathways Colleges, by Davis Jenkins, Hana Lahr, & John Fink, Community College Research Center (CCRC), April 2017
Drawing on data from telephone interviews with project teams from all 30 colleges, along with in-depth two-day site visits at six of the colleges, the report describes how the AACC Pathways colleges are approaching guided pathways reforms in each of the model’s four main practice areas:
The essential practices of each the four dimensions of the Pathways Model, as set forth by the American Association of Community Colleges' Pathways Project:
Simplify students’ choices with default program maps — metamajors — developed by faculty and advisors that show students a clear pathway to completion or transfer, further education and employment in fields of importance to the region.
Redesign intake, orientation, placement, and advising to help entering students choose a metamajor and enroll in a Program of Study as quickly as possible.
Redesign traditional remediation as an “on-ramp” to a program of study, which helps students explore academic and career options from the beginning of their college experience, aligns math and other foundation skills coursework with a student’s program of study, and integrates and contextualizes instruction to build academic and non-academic foundation skills throughout the college-level curriculum, particularly in program “gateway” courses.
Provide accelerated remediation to help very poorly prepared students succeed in college-level courses as soon as possible.
Support students through a strong advising process, embedded and ongoing in the pathway experience and supported by appropriate technology, to help students make informed choices, strengthen clarity about transfer and career opportunities at the end of their chosen college path, ensure they develop an academic plan with predictable schedules, monitor their progress, and intervene when they go off track.
Embed academic and non-academic supports throughout students’ programs to promote student learning and persistence.
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