A number of projects have involved the implementation of a new paradigm for delivering postsecondary education, particularly in community colleges. The paradigm is one where learners, from the first day, form an explicit partnership with the postsecondary institution they attend. The partnership is focused on the success of both the learner and the institution and in both cases is marked by the learner’s successful completion of their program of study.
The critical component of this partnership is a personalized institutional response to learner characteristics based on information they provide about their interests and abilities via assessments conducted at critical points during the first year of study. The role of the institution is to respond with thoughtful, evidence-based, purposeful efforts to shape campus cultures and engage learners in specific experiences. The effect is to create unique learning opportunities and experiences that increase the likelihood students will become involved and succeed in the academy.
An independent impact evaluation of this new paradigm, when resourced appropriately, has shown it to be very effective in increasing student engagement, student success and retention.