By Christopher Garcia
Ka La staff writer
School officials are trying a new approach to help get students get up to speed and through their college education faster than before. Counselors and faculty call these courses co-requisite classes which accelerate advancement through the system.
The new classes, including English 100T, English 100S and Math 75X, replace several old developmental classes like English 19 and English 2 and Math 24 and 25. In the new classes, students who need extra work take a new English 100 or Math 75 class four days a week. When they pass, they get through their basic requirements in one semester, replacing what used to take two or three semesters.
By forcing students to step through several class levels one at a time, the old system often discouraged students who wanted to get their degrees or certificates as quickly as possible or couldnʻt afford to pay for the extra semesters at school.
“[Administration] wanted everyone who was in remedial classes out of remedial ASAP,” Veteran Affairs Counselor Scot Parry said. Teachers, financial aid, and counselors all took part in a survey and came up with the new idea. The way the new standard handles classes apart from the traditional method imposes some key changes.
Jeff Stearns, chairman of HonCC Language Arts Department, said that the English Department began completely utilizing the co-requisite system at the start of Fall 2016. “The idea came from a conference of all community colleges in Hawaii,” Stearns said. “The administration never dictated anything; the idea came from the faculty.”
By taking the English 100T or 100S courses, students who need extra help can work on their English basics at the same time they are completing their English 100 requirements, Stearns said.
“Accelerated classes and the Co-Requisite classes are different,” Stearns said. He is referring to what some students fear—an unbearable workload. Accelerated classes, both in high school and in college, are designed to immerse students with content needed to attain the next level. Usually, it is simplified as “two classes in one.” Doubling the content taken in a class that, length-wise, is the same as a non-accelerated version of that class adds pressure.
For MATH-75X, for example, “is a combination of MATH-24 and MATH-25,” says William Ng, who tutors in Professor Clarise Ikeno’s MATH-75X class. Co-requisites classes, often include “embedded coaching” by tutors, putting a student tutor in the classroom every day along with the professor to work with students. It essentially adds another person to help the teacher, much like a teacher’s aid. Rather than adding more work, students are put in a general place and are provided help.
There is no extra work in terms of homework. “[It’s] the same work load as any other class, except embedded classes have time for class work and homework,” Ng said. That is to say, it is just like any other class 100-level class, except with extra help.
Ng also explained that students still make use of the tutoring center, as well as Math Lab. If there are any questions that students still have, they schedule appointments with the Math Tutoring center.
English tutor Emily Rose has experienced the tutoring environment for five semesters, but this semester is her first as an official tutor. “Embedding coaching is fun,” she said. One of the most beneficial factors of embedded classes is that “it makes students feel cared for.” Rose said that “she’s dealt with dickhead teachers,” and that “rapport isn’t something you build in a five- minute segment.”
To her, and several others dealing with co-requisite classes, the system addresses not only the academic issues that students have, but also the psychological ones. It is a system that relies heavily on the studentsʻ willingness to improve and the system proving the support given to those seeking improvement. Rose classified the embedded tutors as educational lubricants who help prepare students for a surprisingly pleasant experience of learning.
“If the teacher lectures the whole time,” Rose says, “then it won’t work.” The system relies mainly on work time, so that students can get a bearing on what they need to work on. Get help and help yourself is the premise. There has to be a balance, but it is “teacher dependent.”
Ng reaffirms the severity of class work, saying that “when having [three classes in one], it may be harder…you can’t miss a single class.” This type of risk is typical in any class in any college, requiring the normal effort one would put in any other college-level class.
Co-requisite classes also count as one class in terms of tuition, which can significantly decrease time and money spent in college. In the HCC Catalog for 2010-2011, the English Sequence pathway required a total of four semesters to complete a 200-level English class. The catalog for 2016-2017 places all students in ENG-100, but they may have to take ENG-100S or ENG-100T (both Embedded classes) upon completing the placement test. However, anyone who completes ENG-100, ENG-100S or ENG100-T will be qualified for the 200-level courses, rather than having to climb up each rung of the academic ladder.
Math classes, as depicted in the 2016-2017 catalog, are similar, which are separated in three categories: College Math, Technical Math, and College Algebra. Keep in mind that in the 2010-2011 clumped all math courses together. Although segmented differently, the standards of the 2016-2017 catalog remain the same. Placement pressure is alleviated with requirements filled by MATH-75X.
The Financial Air Office at HonCC count the co-requiste classes as any other class. Therefore, not only but money will time be saved. It is like a three-for-one price sale at a supermarket. However, always remember to discuss all options, whether for English or Math, with a counselor to figure out which course is actually needed.