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Strong Start to Finish adds four new educational systems to network

General Foundation News

This week, Strong Start to Finish (SSTF) announced four state higher education systems and associations — the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Louisiana Board of Regents, Michigan Center for Student Success, and Tennessee Board of Regents — it’s adding to its network to implement developmental education reforms. Collectively, these four systems represent more than 100 higher education institutions and over 80 that will be involved in their respective system’s SSTF grant activities. The four systems will each receive $230,000 to expand ongoing developmental education reform initiatives.

SSTF received $2 million in 2022 from Kresge’s Education Program to support the launch of this phase of work. The national initiative aims to significantly increase the number and proportion of low-income students, students of color and returning adults who succeed in college math and English.

Let's stay in touch Sign up for our newsletters SubscribeFunding from SSTF will support evidence-based developmental education reform efforts that aim to remove barriers and create conditions for every student to pass credit-earning courses in English and math in their first year of college. These reform efforts focus on multiple measures and guided self-placement practices, corequisite math and English courses, and math pathways that align to students’ programs of study.

Research has shown that the traditional approach to developmental education, which typically consists of one or a sequence of noncredit courses before entering college-level classes, has limited benefits, or even detrimental effects, on student progression and persistence in college. In addition, traditional developmental education may widen outcome differences in college success by demographic background, since Black, Hispanic and students from families with low incomes are disproportionately more likely to be required to take these courses.

This announcement represents a second phase of work building on more than six years of research, lessons and successes since the initiative launched in 2017. Phase two of SSTF has the organization focusing more deeply on accelerated and scaled impact to address inequities that persist in developmental education.

“We had research confirming these reforms could positively impact higher education students’ lives, but the challenge was scaling reforms so they would be effective and comprehensive,” says Bill Moses, managing director of Kresge’s Education Program. “Adding these four new systems means more students now have the ability to take advantage of what has become a refined practice of activity.”

Ascendium Education Group and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also support SSTF, hosted at Education Commission of the States

Read more about what each state system plans to do in the full press release.