Access at the Crossroads: Learning Assistance in Higher Education: ASHE Higher Education Report, Volume 35 Number 6
May 2010, Jossey-Bass
Learning assistance often operates at the crossroads of the institution where academic affairs, student affairs, and enrollment management converge. This report investigates the effectiveness of learning assistance for supporting academic affairs with better-prepared students for academically rigorous courses, working with student affairs to achieve higher student development outcomes, and supporting enrollment management programs to increase persistence rates.
This report explores difficult questions confronting learning assistance:
- What is the obligation of colleges for providing assistance for its students?
- Is learning assistance a civil rights issue for historically underrepresented students attending postsecondary education?
- What is the history of learning assistance for serving previous generations of students, even at the most prestigious public and private institutions in the United States?
- Are learning assistance needs better met by high schools and two-year institutions?
- Do learning assistance activities benefit the postsecondary institution and society?
Although it has a presence in most postsecondary institutions, the expression of learning assistance is quite diverse through credit and noncredit activities. The preferred term used in this report is "learning assistance," because it is commonly used and most inclusive of the various approaches and activities of the field.
This is the sixth issue in the 35th volume of the Jossey-Bass series ASHE Higher Education Report. Each monograph in the series is the definitive analysis of a tough higher education problem, based on thorough research of pertinent literature and institutional experiences. Topics are identified by a national survey. Noted practitioners and scholars are then commissioned to write the reports, with experts providing critical reviews of each manuscript before publication.
Executive Summary vii
Current Challenges and Controversies for Learning Assistance 7
Lack of Knowledge About the History of Learning Assistance 7
Challenges of Shifting Perceptions and Values 9
Financial Challenges for Learning Assistance 18
History of Learning Assistance in U.S. Postsecondary Education 23
Phase One: 1600s to 1820s 23
Phase Two: 1830s to 1860s 26
Phase Three: 1870s to Mid-1940s 30
Phase Four: Mid-1940s to 1970s 34
Phase Five: 1970s to Mid-1990s 42
Phase Six: Mid-1990s to the Present 51
The Current Nature and Scope of Learning Assistance 55
Annual Scope of Learning Assistance 55
Cost Estimates for Providing Learning Assistance 61
Approaches to and Systems of Learning Assistance 62
The Institution’s Requirements for Change 80
Best Practices and Models in Learning Assistance 87
Educational Theories and Pedagogies 88
Evidence-Based Best Practices 91
Categories of Best Practices 93
The Future of the Field 105
Recommendations for Future Research 106
Recommendations for Change 110
Name Index 133
Subject Index 137
About the Author 145