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Blackboard Launches Solution To Improve Developmental Education

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackboard Inc. today announced the official launch of Blackboard Developmental Education ( Blackboard DevEd), an innovative approach aimed at improving student outcomes and increasing completion rates in an area where many institutions have struggled. The solution, which was first piloted by several institutions in the fall, now includes built-in assessment and analytics tools that enable course instructors to further personalize their instruction.

At the pilot institutions, 91 percent of participating students said they were satisfied with the overall course and 75 percent rated the online course as more engaging than a traditional course. Several of the pilot institutions have extended their use of the solution, with enrollments in some cases doubling for the spring semester.

Blackboard DevEd courses are taught by experienced instructors who work with mentors who serve as program representatives on campus. In launching the solution, Blackboard has enhanced the offering with the integration of A+dvancer , a robust assessment tool that helps instructors tailor their approach for each student's strengths and weaknesses based on placement test results. The enhanced focus on assessment gives instructors and mentors access to real-time reporting and analysis on student activity and progression.

"While many of our students excel academically in certain areas of study, some still need developmental instruction in other areas," said Kara Monroe, Assistant Vice Provost of Ivy Tech Community College's Center for Instructional Technology. "Blackboard Developmental Education is an effective tool for our students with its flexible and engaging delivery method. Because it provides real time data on student progress, we are better able to make any necessary changes in instruction to improve student success than previously through traditional remediation courses."

Blackboard DevEd enables students to move from developmental courses to credit-granting courses sooner, and through a partnership with Internships.com, institutions have the option to integrate career building and planning tools directly into their Blackboard Learn platform, allowing students to further their professional development as well. 

"Institutions are challenged to deliver efficient and effective developmental programs, and we're excited to provide a fully online solution unlike any other on the market that provides students with the flexibility and support they need," said Matthew Small, the Chief Business Officer of Blackboard. "Blackboard Developmental Education is enhanced with insightful assessment capabilities and personalized for each student to help ensure individual achievement. Success rates are already proving to be a step in the right direction and we look forward to help colleges and universities increase their student completion rates."

Blackboard DevEd is designed to support an institution's existing developmental program, curriculum policies, course requirements and assessment needs. The solution currently includes courses for Integrated Math (pre-algebra), Basic Algebra, and Intermediate Algebra, three of the most frequently required developmental courses. Blackboard plans to add a Developmental English-Language Arts course in the fall.

The offering, developed in partnership with K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN), leverages Blackboard's leading online learning technologies, collaboration tools and support services, and can be delivered through an institution's Blackboard Learn platform or deployed as a stand-alone option for institutions that use other learning management systems. Students are supported through one-on-one online sessions and live phone support with course instructors.

K12 Inc.'s A+dvancer College Readiness is designed to deliver individualized coursework to students based on diagnostic assessments. It has been used in over 250 programs nationwide including college remediation, high school outreach, adult basic education, tech prep, and bridge programs.

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