The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved an evaluation of co-requisite models Thursday, requiring students to take an additional course to assist them if they have not demonstrated college readiness.
All students entering college must meet the Texas Success Initiative’s requirements for college readiness or pass the initiative’s assessment to enroll in coursework at any Texas public college or university, according to a report by the board. These requirements involve reaching minimum scores on the SAT, ACT, AP tests or other college-level equivalents.
“If a student does come in underprepared, then absolutely we are in favor of any sort of help … to ensure completion of the college course,” said Suzanne Morales-Vale, the board’s director of developmental and adult education. “We don’t want students to fail courses, which also adds to the cost. In order to mitigate that, it does help them if they take tutoring, supplemental instruction or any sort of additional support.”
Students who do not meet the benchmark on any part of the assessment, such as math, must work with an adviser to develop a plan to become college-ready. In the co-requisite model, a student enrolls in an entry-level college credit course and a corresponding course designed to support the student in the college credit course, according to the board’s report.
The board wants to measure the models’ success rates, Morales-Vale said.
Morales-Vale said community college students do not have any entry requirements other than a high school education, which could mean they are not completely college-ready.
“In the traditional delivery of these courses, students are required to take these courses as prerequisites before they were allowed to enroll in the entry-level or college-level courses that are required,” Morales-Vale said. “The co-requisite model changes this delivery system.”
Morales-Vale said the difference between regular college courses and the additional corresponding courses is that additional corresponding courses cannot apply toward a student certificate or degree program.
“(The additional corresponding courses) probably cost the same or very similar to a typical college credit course,” Morales-Vale said. “In addition, students also have to pay for course materials which are typical for any course.”
According to a report presented at the board meeting in October 2019, 58% of first-time Texas college students were considered college-ready in fall 2018.
“We, as an agency, want to look at and see who’s (using the co-requisite models) really well, whether there has been an improvement (and) where we can kind of copy and share with other institutions,” said Jerel Booker, the board’s assistant commissioner for college readiness and success.
Kelly Polden, the board’s external relations assistant director, said the co-requisite model would work toward the board’s 60x30TX program. This higher education strategic plan includes four goals: increasing Texas’ educated population, completion of a degree from a higher education institution, completing programs with marketable skills and decreasing student debt.
“The way that the co-requisite model would tie in would be to help students complete college and also help manage their student debt,” Polden said.