1st Edition

Basic Skills Education in Community Colleges
Inside and Outside of Classrooms

ISBN 9780415634755
Published December 3, 2012 by Routledge
256 Pages

USD $58.95

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Book Description

Nearly two-thirds of students require some form of remediation before taking college-level classes, and community colleges have become increasingly important in providing this education. Unfortunately, relatively few students complete the developmental courses required to make a transition to college-level work. Based on a three-year study of over twenty community colleges, Basic Skills Education in Community Colleges analyzes developmental education practices, exploring what goes wrong and what goes right, and provides a series of recommendations for improved practice.

Including both classroom observations and interviews with administrators, faculty, and students, this valuable book balances critique with examples of innovation. Part One explores the instructional settings of basic skills—the use of drill and practice and remedial pedagogy in math, reading, writing, and ESL, as well as innovations in colleges that show developmental education need not follow remedial pedagogy. Part Two examines institutional factors shaping basic skills and provides recommendations for improving the quality of basic skills instruction. The research-grounded observations and recommendations in Basic Skills Education in Community Colleges make this an invaluable resource for scholars, administrators, and faculty aiming to help students progress through developmental education to college-level work and beyond.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Understanding the Quandary of Basic Skills: Framing the Issues in Community Colleges

Chapter 2 Developmental Students: Their Heterogeneity, Readiness, and Perspectives


Chapter 3 Instruction in Basic Skills: The Dominance of Remedial Pedagogy

Chapter 4 Innovation in Basic Skills Instruction: The Landscape and the Locus of Change

Chapter 5 Student Support Services: Their Possibilities and Limits

Chapter 6 Integrating Student Services with Instruction: Chaffey College’s Long Journey to Success


Chapter 7 Assessment and Alignment: The Dynamic Aspects of Developmental Education

Chapter 8 Funding, Resources, and the Money Myth: Effects on Instruction and Innovation

Chapter 9 Other Institutional Effects on Instruction and Innovation

Chapter 10 Solving the Basic Skills Dilemma: Conclusions and Recommendations

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W. Norton Grubb is the Emeritus Professor and David Pierpont Gardner Chair in Higher Education at The Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley, USA.

Robert Gabriner is Professor of Educational Leadership and Director of the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program for Schools and Community Colleges at San Francisco State University, USA.



"Basic Skills Education in Community Colleges is one of the rare studies of higher education that takes us inside the classroom, in this case, community college basic skills classrooms. [Grubb and Gabriner] provide in just over 200 pages a comprehensive overview of the problems with instruction in remedial writing, reading, English as a second language, and mathematics and a set of recommendations for improving remediation." —Mike Rose, UCLA