Kirkland, Wash. – Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWTech), the only public institute of technology in Washington state, is receiving $150,000 in grant funding from College Spark Washington (College Spark) through its Community Grants Program. College Spark helps low-income students earn their degrees by funding programs that reduce student enrollment requirements in developmental education courses and increase the rate of students who earn their first college-level English or math credits.
Funding from College Spark will improve intake and placement services for all students who intend to enroll in English and math college-level coursework, including English Second Language/Basic Skills and Developmental Education students, but assess into remedial courses. This new process replaces the traditional high-stakes COMPASS placement test and allows students to self-select math and English placements using computer forms or advisor-administered questionnaires. Students review the results and choose their own placement rather than having it imposed on them. Studies have shown students who self-select are more engaged in their education and outcomes. This process will begin in fall of 2016.
In addition to developing new student placement methods, LWTech will use grant funding to consolidate all intake services into one singular location, the Smart Start Student Welcome Center. The center is expected to open in the fall of 2018 on the Kirkland campus.
“These new placement methods will create a more seamless pathway for students. Directed self-placement in English and math will move students further and faster on their path to graduation. This innovative, faculty-led process will help students pick their best place given current circumstances and their level of motivation,” said Dr. Ruby Hayden, project director and LWTech vice president of student services.
“This grant will help students enter and successfully complete college-level coursework which, in turn, will save them time and money. Thanks to College Spark and our tremendous faculty, students will have better access to our nationally recognized I-BEST [Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training] programs, be more likely to place into college level classes, and reduce their overall time to completion. Removing barriers to student success is a top priority for the college as it helps our students move from the classroom to a career,” said Dr. Amy Morrison Goings, president of LWTech.
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