In 2014, Austin Community College (ACC) received a $4.9 million grant to develop the state-of-the-art ACCelerator which delivers immersive learning, training and community engagement services to address the needs of their students, many of whom arrive underprepared for college-level work.
Because traditional DevEd courses don’t count as credit hours toward a degree, many students would never complete one, much less a full sequence. Students were discouraged – switching to non-STEM majors or dropping out entirely. One of the innovative programs offered at the ACCelerator is redesigned DevEd math courses powered by sophisticated learning software and onsite tutors to increase personalization and engagement, and reduce high withdrawal rates.
Impact applied predictive propensity score matching (PPSM) to analyze students’ use of the ACCelerator. Overall, students who visited the lab at least once each term persisted at a rate of 6.15 percentage points (pp) higher than students who did not. The impact was almost 4X greater for DevEd students: there was a lift in persistence of 12.44%(pp) among these students, compared to 3.29%(pp) for non-DevEd students.