Retention Plans That Foster Student Success

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Retention is often discussed in adult education as program administrators, instructors and support staff plan and integrate retention practices designed to lower student attrition. What are the elements of a strong, research-based and successful retention plan that is realistic to implement? It begins with defining retention, creating a marketing plan, developing a student screening and placement process, implementing a comprehensive orientation, and connecting instruction to student goals. When combined, these individual components fit into a solid, organized, and detailed plan that will foster student success.

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Using i-Pathways as a Classroom Supplement

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Integrating i-Pathways as a classroom supplement will aid in student retention and prepare students for their High School Equivalency Exam. Using i-Pathways in conjunction with traditional classroom instruction will optimize a student’s time within the adult education program.

As Linda Crooks, an instructor from Rock Valley College, shared, “I’m trying to think about everything that has come up with my i-Pathways program this semester, and what I’m trying to accomplish with my classroom students and just getting them more computer literate. Big job! The online students are making much better progress than the classroom students. I haven’t had any classroom student test, but the online ones are, and I expect to have some graduates.”

The following steps will provide a blueprint for integrating i-Pathways as a classroom supplement.

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Motivating Students Begins With The Instructor

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While participating in the Illinois Adult and Continuing Education Association state conference, the i-Pathways team attended a session on Engagement and Motivation and Attention, Oh My! presented by Stephanie Woodley and Jennifer Stringfellow from Eastern Illinois University.

The following motivational checklist was shared during the session. Check it out. How many of these bulleted statements fit your teaching style? What would you add?

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Is Failure Ever Productive?

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The recent issue of the Brilliant Report discussed the concept of productive failure. “Allowing learners to struggle will actually help them learn better.” This concept tends to go against the natural instincts of teachers. Typically, we want to give our students a strong sense of structure and guidance, build their knowledge base, and then set them free to master their learning.

Yet, research seems to be telling us something different. The idea of productive failure emphasizes the idea that learners need to struggle with material in the beginning, with limited assistance from teachers for a while. As students work through the learning process, without the scaffolding provided by instructors, learners dissect the problems (test questions) and can often develop a greater understanding of the structure of the problem. Once learners can recognize the structure of problems, they are able to transfer this knowledge to new problems. We are not teaching to the test, but providing students with the opportunity for real learning.

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