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First Winter Session at CCRI in 30 years hailed a success

Feb. 11, 2019

The Community College of Rhode Island today released analysis of the January 2019 Winter Session, the first offered by the college in more than 30 years.

Of the more than 250 students who completed one of the 19 courses offered at the Knight Campus or online, 90 percent passed with a grade of “C” or better. The pass rate is significantly higher than the same courses offered during the college’s 15-week session offered during the fall and spring semesters.

Traditionally, students earn higher grades during condensed sessions, including three-week winter sessions and six-week summer sessions, than during 15-week semester courses. The immersive nature of the courses and the focus on a single subject are key reasons students are often very successful in winter sessions.

With the launch of the winter session, CCRI joined 25 community colleges across New England, as well as the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College, in offering students compelling coursework during the semester break. 

“We are thrilled with the success our students achieved through the college’s winter session. The concentrated format provided a number of benefits that advance student success. Students used the time to get ahead on their course load, lighten their spring semester or catch up on their academic requirements. Whatever their particular reason for participating in the winter session, the positive response from students and the excellent pass rates tells us we were correct in our assessment to hold the session,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs Rosemary Costigan.

Reaction from students who took courses was very positive: 

A freshman who experienced a condensed session for the first time, shared, “Over the three weeks of this course, I learned how to read and understand poetry, which was something I was never able to do before! This course has given me confidence entering my second semester of college. Also, this course put me ahead of the game to graduate from CCRI even faster.”

A second student – a working mother with two small children – said, “… my goal is to graduate as quickly as possible while maintaining a job and good grades. CCRI’s winter course is allowing me to earn credits that I would have had to put off for another semester.” 

Another student shared, “This is my first J Term class at CCRI. It has been a successful experience! I'm glad I had the opportunity to take this class on break to have a lighter course load during spring semester.”

One more student said, “More courses should be offered in this condensed format … it has significantly reduced the amount of time I will have to spend in reaching the completion of my studies."

The learning outcomes of condensed sessions, such as winter and summer sessions, are required to be identical to the outcomes of traditional longer semester sessions, in accordance with standards set forth by New England Association of Schools and Colleges. NEASC is an independent, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization that connects and serves over 1,500 public, independent and international learning communities in the U.S. and worldwide.  

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