The Learning Support Program at Jackson State Community College offers students opportunities designed to provide them with the skills necessary for college success.
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?
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).
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).
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).
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.
- The math test is an untimed computerized test which includes fractions, percentages, problem solving, and algebra. Outside calculators are not allowed.
- The reading test is an untimed computerized test on vocabulary and reading comprehension.
- The writing test is a two-part computerized test. The first part is multiple choice, and the second part is an essay.
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:
- Smaller classes
- More teacher attention
- More student success in college-level classes
- Counselors, tutors, lab assistants available
- Academic skills strengthened
- Refresher courses for re-entering students
- Increased self-confidence to aid in college success
- PR grade (available once) instead of an F for students who are making progress toward passing but did not earn a C. Does not negatively impact GPA.
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:
- More use of the lecture method.
- Independent reading expected.
- Classes meet less often and for fewer hours, so student are expected to do more study time outside class.
- Using the library effectively is more important.
- Students are responsible for what they learned in high school.
- Professors spend less time on repetition. Information is given once and then the professor moves to the next topic.
- More emphasis on understanding theory instead of memorizing facts.
- Harder work is required for an A or B; C is an average grade.
- Semester grades may be based on just two or three test scores or a major outside project.
- Essay exams are more common and exam questions may be more difficult to predict.
- More major writing assignments.
- Comprehension skills are more important.
- Taking good notes in important.
- Being able to identify main ideas are more important.
- Effective communication skills are more important.
- Students are responsible for monitoring their own progress and are responsible for recognizing the need for getting additional help.
- Paying attention in class is more important.
- Studying is more important.
- Students must be independent and responsible for seeking assistance.
- Professors have office hours to meet with students, but students must take the initiative to contact the faculty.
- The Academic Assistance Center, Writing Center, and SMART Math Lab all offer free help, but students must choose to take advantage of the help.
- More academic competition.
- Behavior problems are not tolerated.
- Increased work load and much faster pace.
- Students are more independent and are accountable for their behavior.
- It is more difficult to earn high grades.
- An entire course is completed in 15 weeks or less.
- Students are expected to know what they want from college.
- Increased number of choices and decisions.
- More self-evaluation, accepting of responsibility.
- More independent reading and studying are required.
- Students are responsible for time management.
- Students establish and attain their own goals.
- Students must be motivated to succeed.