Learning Support Program (formerly Developmental Studies Program)

Mission Statement

The Learning Support Program at Jackson State Community College offers students opportunities designed to provide them with the skills necessary for college success.

Vision Statement

The Learning Support Program at Jackson State Community College offers students the skills necessary to succeed in college through proper placement; flexible delivery systems such as computer-based, lecture-based, lab-based, and on-line classes; and opportunities to move through the program in an individualized manner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is There a Learning Support Program (LSP)?

Like most community colleges, Jackson State has an open door policy that does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, or physical or mental disability. However, in the past, higher education was not so broadly accessible to Americans. In fact, until 50 years ago, college was available only to the more privileged classes. In recent decades, social upheaval demanded changes in American institutions to admit more women and minorities (1960s), more economically diverse students (1970s), and more Americans with disabilities (1990s). Rigorous admission standards that once kept all but a select few out of higher education are now more flexible.

With the new open door policies, however, students were given the freedom to fail, and many did. In many cases students were not prepared for the differences between high school and college. Because of the tremendous failure rate, in the 1980s developmental programs were created to give underprepared students the skills necessary to succeed in college courses.

Who Takes Learning Support Classes?

Students are placed in learning support classes in two different ways. Students who have valid ACT scores (taken in the past three years) will be placed according to their ACT subscores in English, math, and reading. A score of 19 is considered college-level in reading and math, and a score of 18 is considered college-level in writing. A score below college level will place the student into learning support.

Students whose ACT is more than 3 years old or who have no ACT scores are required to take the COMPASS Placement Test, a non-timed, computerized test. The results of this test determine which classes students are required to pass before attempting college level classes.

What are the ACT cutoff scores for Learning Support?

Writing
A student with a writing ACT sub-score of 17 or below should enroll in Learning Support in Writing I and II (ENGL 0891 and ENGL 0892). A student with a writing ACT sub-score of 12 and below must also enroll in Learning Support in Writing Fundamentals (ENGL 0890).

Math
A student with a mathematics ACT sub-score of 18 or below should enroll in Learning Support in Mathematics I (MATH 0891). A student with a mathematics ACT sub-score of 12 and below must also enroll in Learning Support in Mathemetics Fundamentals (MATH 0890).

Reading
A student with a reading ACT sub-score of 18 or below should enroll in Learning Support in Reading I and II (READ 0891 and READ 0892). A student with a writing ACT sub-score of 12 and below must also enroll in Learning Support in Reading Fundamentals (READ 0890).

Learning Strategies
Any student who is placed into two of the three areas above encouraged to enroll in College Success (COL 1010), which replaces the required DSPS 0800: Learning Strategies course. Learning Strategies is no longer offered or required at Jackson State.

My ACT scores indicate that I must take a Learning Support class. Can I take the ACT again to raise my score?

Students who are placed into learning support because of their ACT or COMPASS scores are encouraged to confirm that placement by taking the COMPASS test, an untimed, computerized test. Check the Testing Center/Counseling Office webpage for test dates.

A nonrefundable test fee of $5 per test (reading, writing, and/or math) is due in the Business Office before the test is proctored. Students need a picture ID to challenge math, reading, and/or writing placement.

ACT study guides are available at area bookstores and libraries. Online practice test sites can be found at www.testprepreview.com and www.actstudent.org/testprep/index.html

Students who have received a grade (such as an F, PR, or W) in a learning support class cannot challenge that class; they must re-take that class to replace the grade.

What Learning Support courses are offered?

Jackson State offers Learning Support classes in math, reading, and writing. These courses are prerequisites to most college classes.

There are few classes you can succeed in at the college level without demonstrating a college-level reading ability. Therefore, our reading classes give you the vocabulary and skills to tackle difficult textbook reading assignments.

Our writing classes give you practice with grammar, organization, word processing skills, and writing paragraphs and essays like those you will encounter in college-level courses and the workplace.

Our math classes teach you the vocabulary of algebra and give you the necessary problem-solving skills you need to succeed in college math.

How will Learning Support classes help me?

Students who test into Learning Support often are unaware that these courses are designed to help them succeed—they are not a punishment. Some of the advantages of Learning Support classes include:

What are the differences between college and high school?

There are many differences between college and high school. The following list is adapted from the Advocacy Consortium for College Students.

Academic Environment in College:

Grading

Knowledge Acquisition

Support

Stress

Responsibility