LEAP (Learning Enhanced through Accelerated Paths) was established in fall 2012 to address a challenge faced by 75% of incoming Hispanic students at Union County College — the requirement of developmental courses that delay degree completion. LEAP encourages timely graduation by providing first-time students the opportunity to complete accelerated developmental courses in English, mathematics or ESL. Through the LEAP courses, students are able to complete remediation in fewer credit hours and begin college-level courses up to two semesters earlier than in traditional pathways. The learning community course structure pairs classes for an integrated, engaging learning environment. To further support student success, LEAP designates academic advisors to provide intentional academic and career planning, tutors for in-class support, and coordinates a student leadership program. The accelerated courses and student development program have resulted in substantial student success during the four years of LEAP, with over 400 students participating in courses and 200 in review sessions.
The mission of LEAP is to improve the retention, academic success, and persistence of Hispanic and other low-income first year students in developmental mathematics, developmental English, or ESL courses. LEAP works toward the mission through three goals:
1) Accelerated paths in developmental mathematics, developmental English, and ESL within a learning community model;
2) Executing an enhanced student development program, including in-class support tutoring, intrusive academic/career counseling, student orientation program, early warning alert, peer mentoring, and leadership development and
3) Implementing a cutting-edge professional development program for faculty and staff focused on innovative pedagogy, student retention and persistence, and data based decision-making.
Students enrolled in LEAP courses reflect campus diversity and 41% of students are Hispanic/Latino. Students complete their developmental math, developmental English, or ESL coursework in less time than those in the traditional course pathway at Union County College.
· About 58% of students in LEAP development English courses complete remediation in one year compared to 33% of the baseline control group.
· About 60% of students in LEAP math courses complete development math in one year compared to 5.36% of baseline students.
· Overall 75% of students in the LEAP ESL courses complete ESL within one year, compared to 20% of baseline students.
· 55% of participants improving their initial English or math placement with the placement test review sessions and have reduced time in dev. courses.
· In the fall 2013 cohort of LEAP students, 66% were retained the following year.
· 75% of students meet with their advisors multiple times throughout the academic year.