ASCC networks with high schools at College Readiness workshops
In order to update instructors and counselors in the territory’s public and private high schools on the placement process for students entering the American Samoa Community College (ASCC), and to familiarize them with the ASCC College Accelerated Preparatory Program (CAPP), the College’s Department of Academic Affairs recently hosted two open College Readiness Workshops to outline the procedure by which incoming students test into English and Math classes appropriate to their existing skill levels, and to explain the purpose and methods of the CAPP Program.
One workshop on placement and CAPP classes in Math took place on Thursday, September 26, and a corresponding workshop on placement in English courses was held one week later on Thursday, October 4th. Attendees included staff from Leone High School, Tafuna, Nuuuli Voc Tech, Kanana Fou, Faasao/Marist, and the Department of Education.
Staff from Academic Affairs and CAPP explained how incoming students to ASCC have the option of submitting their SAT scores or taking the ASCC entrance exam. The SAT scores or entrance exam results determine whether the student is routed to either college-level courses (typically numbered 150 and above) or remedial classes in English and/or Math. The workshops included a general description of the content area covered in the ASCC entrance exam, which is comparable to standard college entrance exams used across the United States, as well as advice on how students can best prepare for it.
To best serve students who test into remedial English and Math classes, ASCC introduced its College Accelerated Preparatory Program during summer 2012. Rather than attend a combination of classes under and above the 150 level, as had taken place in the past, students in CAPP focus solely on their pre-150 English and Math courses, which are taught at an accelerated schedule.
Rather than meeting three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or twice on Tuesday and Thursday, CAPP classes meet daily for a minimum of 1 hour and 20 minutes for six weeks. Under CAPP, students can finish two remedial level classes in a semester at the same pace it would have previously taken to complete one. When a student has passed all of the required remedial classes, then he/she can enroll in the 150 and above courses, having secured the academic prerequisites.
Helping students progress as quickly as possible through remedial courses became an especially urgent priority for ASCC when new federal regulations stipulated that financial aid will cover no more than twelve semesters (or six years) towards completion of a bachelors (BA) degree. The average ASCC student may take between two to 3.5 years to complete an associate in arts (AA) degree, and the quicker this goal is reached, the more semesters he/she will have while still eligible for federal financial aid to fulfill the rest of the requirements towards the next level degree, the BA.
With CAPP giving students the opportunity to move through necessary remedial courses at an accelerated pace, this gives them greater assurance of their financial aid lasting through the remainder of their studies towards an AA at ASCC, as well as towards a subsequent BA, either in the ASCC Teacher Education Department, or majoring in another subject area at an off-island university.
“Given the new financial aid requirements, our fellow educators in the territory’s high schools have taken a greater interest than ever in seeing their students do well on the ASCC placement test,” said the College’s Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Irene Helsham. “Those who joined us for the workshops now also have a clear understanding of how CAPP works, which they can in turn share with their students. I’m always grateful when those in the local education community take an interest in our procedures at ASCC, which we are always willing to clarify, especially for the benefit of students.”
For more information on ASCC, visit the College’s web page at www.amsamoa.edu.