English Department's 'Stretch' Courses Boost Student Success

Thursday, May 03, 2018
Photo of students in an English class

ED SOURCE -- San Francisco State in 2008 fully adopted stretch courses for students who did not score high enough on placement exams and then in 2012 began allowing students to choose whether that two-semester sequence or the one-semester course.

English department chair Sugie Goen-Salter researched “stretch” courses a decade ago at San Francisco State. She found that students who began stretch courses there with writing deficiencies ended up with higher retention and pass rates compared to similar students in remedial courses that offered no credit. Ninety-four percent finished the stretch sequence, compared to 88 percent in the remedial track, and of those who stayed, about 99 percent passed the stretch courses, 10 points higher than those who started in remedial ones, her research showed. Plus the final essays in stretch classes showed higher level writing skills than the other group. The stretch sequence is “definitely better for students,” Goen-Salter said.

Photo by Hannah Anderson