Tennessee Expands Early College Math Program Statewide

SAILS Initiative To Focus On Increasing College Readiness

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A high school math intervention program piloted in Chattanooga will be expanded to serve students statewide, according to an announcement by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and Tennessee Board of Regents.

The Seamless Alignment and Integration of Learning Support program, pioneered at Chattanooga State Community College, focuses on high school seniors who score below readiness benchmarks in mathematics by delivering college remediation prior to graduation from high school.  Piloted last year to 500 students, the SAILS program resulted in an unprecedented 82 percent success rate among high school seniors. 

Expanding the SAILS program is a component of Governor Haslam’s “Drive to 55” initiative to increase the education attainment levels across the state. Under Governor Haslam’s leadership, Tennessee is pursuing the goal of reaching 55 percent of Tennesseans with a higher education credential by 2025. 

“This program provides an opportunity for our students to enter higher education ready to succeed from day one,” said Dr. Rich Rhoda, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. “We are excited to expand this model and contribute to our state reaching the Drive to 55 goal.”

Based on the successful redesign of remedial mathematics led by the Board of Regents in 2009, the SAILS program utilizes the senior year of high school to deliver intensive math instruction that, when successfully completed, leads to fully meeting the TBR mathematics learning support requirements. 

“With the SAILS program, Tennessee’s Community Colleges are showing that early intervention can have tremendous impact on a student’s future success in college,” said Dr. Warren Nichols, vice chancellor of Community Colleges with the TBR. “The value of this program will be seen in more Tennessee students getting their secondary degrees and preparing for successful careers.”

Utilizing funds from the governor’s Online Innovation Fund, SAILS will expand to serve up to 8,800 students in 12 community colleges across the state. Students participating in the SAILS expansion will benefit from the self-paced “Emporium” model of instruction, which combines guided online materials with tailored assistance from the classroom teacher.

“This program is an excellent example of secondary and higher education programs working together to ensure Tennessee students are prepared for college-level studies,” said TBR Chancellor John Morgan. “We know the longer it takes for students to earn the credits they need, the less likely they are to complete their certificates or degrees. Because of SAILS, students will begin their college careers on the right path toward completion.”  

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