306  Learning Support

Approved by President
Effective Date: June 5, 2017
Responsible Division: Academic Affairs
Responsible Office:  Student Success
Responsible Officer: Vice Provost for Student Success

I. Purpose

This policy reflects the commitment of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU or University) to enhance students’ access to and success in higher education. Learning support in this policy is defined as academic support needed by a student to be successful in college level general education courses to increase the likelihood of program completion that will prepare students for career success in their chosen field of study. 

II. Assessment

All students, regardless of age, who do not present ACT, SAT, or other assessment scores approved by the Office of Academic Affairs will be placed into the appropriate learning support course(s) or interventions for reading, writing, and/or mathematics, as required by the academic program. 

If these scores are available, but fail to demonstrate college readiness based upon the table below or documented evidence to the contrary, the student will be placed into the appropriate learning support course(s) or interventions for reading, writing, and/or mathematics, as required by the academic program.

MTSU provides the opportunity for secondary diagnostic assessment to allow students to challenge placement into learning support if they have not met established criteria. The challenge assessment will be an approved nationally normed standardized assessment that will be identified in the MTSU Catalog and/or Student Handbook.

A.  Degree Seeking: First-time and Transfer Students

1.  Scores used for initial assessment must have been earned within five (5) years prior to the first day of class for the student’s entering term for placement courses.

2.  Students entering without initial assessment scores or transferable college-level English composition credit will be placed into writing learning support with the option of challenge testing.

3.  Students entering without initial assessment scores or transferable college-level credit from a reading intensive general education course will be placed into reading learning support with the option of challenge testing. The designation of the reading intensive course will be made by MTSU.

4.  Students entering without initial assessment scores or transferable college-level mathematics credit will be placed into mathematics learning support with the option of challenge testing.

B.  Special Students: Non-degree Seeking / Certificate Programs

1.  Certificate seeking students entering without transferable college-level English composition credit will be subject to the same placement criteria prior to enrollment in college-level English or in any course with English composition as a prerequisite.

2.  Certificate seeking students entering without transferable college-level credit from a reading intensive general education course will be subject to the same placement criteria in reading. The designation of the reading intensive course will be made MTSU.

3.  Certificate seeking students without transferable college-level mathematics credit will be subject to the same placement criteria prior to enrollment in college-level mathematics or in any course with mathematics as a prerequisite.

4.  Students who change to degree-seeking status will be assessed under guidelines for degree seeking students.

5.  For students desiring to take one (1) or more courses for personal or professional development, MTSU will determine the need for assessment.

C.  Other

MTSU provides secondary diagnostic assessment for students who are not required to test but request this assessment. This will be the same nationally normed standardized assessment as used for challenge testing.

Students will be placed into learning support course(s) or interventions based upon the following ACT* scores:

Writing

18

Reading

19

Mathematics

19

*It should be noted that the 2010 ACT College Readiness Standards were revised to reflect the following minimum scores to be evaluated as college ready:
Writing--18; Reading--21; Mathematics-22. The above scores are for the purpose of placement.

 For additional testing and placement information, please refer to the Testing and Placement website

III. Parameters

A.  Organizational Structure

1.  The President or designee determines the organizational structure and coordination of learning support services.

2. Criteria has been established for the selection of learning support faculty consistent with professional disciplinary standards and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accreditation standards.

B.  Learning Support Framework

1.  Only learning support at the high school level as defined by the Tennessee Department of Education qualifies for federal financial aid. (Federal Student Aid Handbook, Volume 1, Chapter 1, Student Eligibility)

2.  If a student matriculates, MTSU will include strategies to address learning support for those students with ACT subject scores twelve (12) or below (or other approved concorded scores, such as SAT, PSAT, etc.).

3.  Faculty who teach the college-level courses that are linked with learning support must be involved in the development of MTSU’s learning support delivery plan.

4.  The learning support must address the learning outcomes and competencies determined to be appropriate for college readiness and must be aligned with the competencies required in the linked general education college level course in order to facilitate successful completion of the core course.

5.  Students are expected to enroll in the appropriate college-level courses, which are designated to provide needed learning support, during their initial semesters of enrollment at MTSU, and should remain enrolled until all learning support needs have been met.

6.  Students should enroll in required learning support courses in the initial semester of enrollment. When placement requires academic assistance in more than one (1) subject area, learning support may require more than one (1) semester of work, but should be completed within the first thirty (30) semester credit hours. In this case, it may be appropriate to address literacy requirements first.

7.  The delivery of learning support must be based on proven methods of integrating technology and learner-centered pedagogy and must address the desired learning competencies.

MTSU will determine the delivery of appropriate learning strategies. While these skills should be incorporated across the curriculum, learning strategies should be addressed in the first (1st)-year experience college success course. Students placed into two (2) or more learning support areas are required to take the first (1st)-year experience course.

8.  With regard to students receiving VA benefits, MTSU will ensure that learning support is provided in compliance with the eligibility provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (38 CFR Ch. 1 § 21.4200 et seq.), including requirements for class attendance.

C.  Student Records

1.  Students will demonstrate mastery with a passing grade.

2.  Successful completion of a student’s learning support competencies will be recorded on the student’s academic record with or without the assignment of standard grades.

3.  Students may not audit any portion of their learning support plans.

4.  Student progress and completion of learning support competencies will be notated in the MTSU data system and posted to the academic record.

D.  Student Transfers

1.  Student learning support information is provided upon request. When a transcript is requested, MTSU must send placement and enrollment status reports for transferring students that includes student record of progress and completion of learning support competencies.

2.  Regardless of the strategies and activities used to provide learning support, once mastery learning has been documented by MTSU, all TBR institutions and state universities are required to accept that documentation.

3.  If mastery learning for required competencies has not been documented as satisfied, MTSU will reassess, if necessary, in order to provide for the continuation of academic support. MTSU may provide the opportunity for challenge testing.

IV. Accountability

Evaluation of the learning support services is a continuous improvement process. MTSU will establish benchmarks and annual performance indicators to demonstrate progress of students who are placed in learning support.

A.  Success will be measured by student success in college entry-level courses for which students have received learning support, Fall to Fall retention, graduation rates, and time to graduation.

B.  Additional data measures may be established and reported by MTSU to document and evaluate efforts to increase student success.

C.  Appropriate data tracking has been established to track the progress of any student with an ACT subject score twelve (12) or below who is enrolled at the institution.

Forms: none.

Revisions: none.

References: 38 CFR Ch. 1 § 21.4200 et seq.