During the 2013-2014 school year, GNYC provided funding through a competitive RFP process for three CUNY Centers for Teaching and Learning (CTLs) at Hostos, Queensborough, and Kingsborough Community College to work on college transition projects that created a shared space to engage both college faculty and high school teachers in cross-institutional dialogue. While each project approached this charge differently, all projects sought to help campuses bridge the transition for students between NYC DOE public high schools and CUNY colleges by building an understanding of curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices at the high school and college levels. Additionally, these projects enabled high school and college educators together to explore how to create an effective professional development experience for both educators at both levels, while also jointly development tools and resources that can be more widely utilized by educators in DOE high schools and CUNY colleges.

Hostos Community College
With Frederick Douglass Academy III, KIPP High School, International High School, Walton Campus, International High School, Clinton Campus

Developing Scientific Literacy and Critical Thinking Skills in College Introductory Courses by Integrating High School Trends

Project Description/Goals: This project set out to improve high school teacher knowledge of strategies used to develop critical thinking and scientific literacy, improve high school teacher and college faculty knowledge about assessment strategies and curriculum design, and improve mutual understanding among high school and college faculty about the progress of skill development from high school courses into college courses. Hostos initially focused on students enrolled in Psychology (PSY101), an introductory course at Hostos. This is a course for which there are no math, reading or writing pre-requisites. Therefore, its curriculum design requires that faculty calibrate pedagogy based on the varying skill levels that students bring upon entry to the course. The course is necessarily designed to address student preparedness for college level reading and writing instead of assuming all students possess adequate basic skills to succeed in the course.

Project Activities: The year-long project brought together Hostos faculty and neighboring Bronx high school teachers over the course of seven meetings to foster a mutual understanding of high school Common Core Standards and CUNY Pathway curriculum reforms, and their effects on the aforementioned skills development. Educators worked together on concrete design, dissecting assignments and assessment tools, calibrating college faculty expectation, and high school and college student preparedness. The participants also discussed different classroom management strategies to help to dissect both initial student skill levels and their progress throughout the course.

View the final Hostos CTL Final Report.

Kingsborough Community College
With New Utretcht High School, Edward R. Murrow High School, Rachel Carson High School for Coastal Studies, Abraham Lincoln High School

A Standards-Based Approach to Cross Institutional Analysis of Student Work

Project Description/Goals: This project was created with two primary goals. The first was to support students as they prepared for the new Common Core-aligned English Regents Exam, the CUNY Assessment Test of Writing (CAT-W), and for their subsequent enrollment in Freshman English Composition (ENG 12) at Kingsborough Community College. In addition, the project worked to bridge any possible disconnect between high school and college instructors’ perceptions of students’ skills levels and their teaching practices.

Project Activities: A workgroup comprised of educators from some of the high schools that send the largest numbers of students to Kingsborough each year and Kingsborough faculty involved in the college’s teaching and learning initiatives (Kingsborough Learning Communities & Center for Teaching and Learning) met five times between October 2013 and May 2014 for discussions grounded in analysis and evaluation of student work and assignment prompts, with the aim of building a common understanding of what counts as sufficient evidence for college readiness. Participants were also provided with copies of the book Getting Ready for College, Careers, and the Common Core: What Every Educator Needs to Know by David T. Conley and then discussed specific chapters from the book when they met throughout the year.

View the final KCC CTL Final Report and the Teacher Toolkit for Analyzing, Revising, and Creating Argument Essay Assignments.

Queensborough Community College
With World Journalism Preparatory School, Queens Academy, Thomas Edison High School, Bayside High School

Getting Ready for College Writing: Aligning Standards for Student Writing Across the College Transition

Project Description/Goals: The CTL at Queensborough Community College (QCC) focused on bringing together faculty from NYC DOE high schools and QCC to build an understanding of writing assessment practices’ in QCC’s English and Academic Literacy Departments in order to discuss college-level expectations for student writing across the high school to college transition. The purpose of this project was to promote collaboration between NYC DOE writing instructors and QCC writing instructors in articulating and applying their standards for student writing across the “college transition” pipeline.

Project Activities: During six meetings throughout the school year, participants sought to align standards for writing given the New York City Common Core State Standards and QCC’s college readiness and success standards as measured by the NY State Regents exam and the CUNY Assessment Test of Writing (CAT-W). During the course of these meetings, participants co-created a normed rubric for evaluating student writing and then to ensure it met their standards in practice, they applied it to more than 45 student writing samples that were collected from each of their respective institutions at the high school and college levels (from 9th grade through English 101).

View the final QCC Final Report and the QCC Writing Rubric for educators.