Florida College System
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Study Shows Smarthinking's Positive Impact on Learning
Research demonstrates consistent impact of Smarthinking across schools and courses.
The Florida College System (FCS), composed of 28 community and state colleges, provides educational opportunities to over 800,000 students a year. Since 2006, FCS has partnered with Smarthinking to help its member colleges obtain online tutoring for their students. In 2011, 27 out of 28 community and state colleges in Florida participated in the FCS/Smarthinking partnership.Download PDF
The challenges facing the community and state colleges in Florida were similar to those facing community college systems across the county. First, the community colleges needed to offer equivalent student academic support services to all students, regardless of where they obtained their learning. Equivalent student support was a key SACS accreditation requirement. They also wanted to offer academic support to all students after normal business hours. Finally, the solution had to be cost-effective. In order to help its member colleges meet these challenges, the Florida College System chose to partner with Smarthinking, and offer its member colleges the opportunity to purchase Smarthinking at a reduced cost.
Using Federal College Access Grant monies, FCS helps subsidize college purchases of Smarthinking. Each community college and state college can purchase and implement Smarthinking services as it deems appropriate for its students. Typically, Smarthinking is made available to students enrolled in the colleges’ distance learning courses as well as in classes on campus. In some instances, instructors require students to use Smarthinking’s Online Writing Lab, which provides individualized feedback and critique on student essays and reports. Researchers commissioned by the Evaluation Unit of the Division of Florida Colleges, examined the use and impact of Smarthinking’s online tutoring services throughout the Florida College System. The study showed that among students who are taking either developmental education courses or first college-level courses in math or English, those using Smarthinking’s services received higher grades. College Preparatory Test (CPT) scores of study participants and non-participants were similar, showing that the higher grades of Smarthinking students do not appear to be a result of self-selection. The study concludes," Based on the available data…it appears that Smarthinking use contributes to higher grades within key courses.” The success of the FCS/Smarthinking partnership continues, with almost 76,000 Smarthinking tutoring sessions provided to Florida students from July 2009-July 2010.
"This study demonstrates the positive impact of Smarthinking on student success, and we are confident that the availability and quality of the online tutoring being provided is indeed benefitting students throughout the state."
Judith Bilsky, Ed.D. Executive Vice Chancellor, Division of Florida Colleges
Read study results published by the Florida College System. More
Learn about Smarthinking for State Systems. More