The EBS Program provides the opportunity for the students to learn the skills needed to be successful in college. It helps the student improve reading, writing and critical thinking. It also teaches academic survival skills such as how to study, how to take tests, how to take notes, and how to use the library. Finally, computers are a basic teaching tool in all EBS courses.
Research shows that students who take EBS courses are more likely to pass English Composition I than students who were not enrolled in EBS. Similarly, students who complete the EBS Program are more likely to complete their degree than students who were not in the program. And, after one or two semesters, students who complete the EBS Program have higher GPAs than students who do not.
There is a core of full-time English department faculty whose primary responsibility is teaching EBS courses. These teachers specialize in the teaching of academic skills and are enthusiastic about helping students become successful in college.
Who administers the EBS program?
Students with questions about the EBS program should contact Michael Berkowitz, EBS Department Chair. Shecan be found in the English Division office, A-333D.
Students are required to take EBS courses because of scores earned on the Accuplacer (computerized placement test). As a result of the scores students are placed in one of the three levels of EBS courses. Students who place into EBS courses must enroll in them their first semester and must take them continuously until they exit the program. Other college courses may be taken at the same time as EBS courses, but the total number of credits students can take are limited each semester to ensure student success.
Can students challenge their placement in the EBS Program?
Students who think their placement test scores do not reflect their ability are permitted to take a challenge test before registering for courses. In addition, students who enroll in EBS courses are given a second screening in the first week of classes and may be given permission by their professors to challenge their EBS placement.
The first level (for students who achieve a score between 0 and 199) requires that the students take 10 credit hours of Developmental English Skills spread over two semesters (EBS-011 and EBS- 012). Students enrolled in this level cannot take more than 14 total credit hours in the first semester.
The second level (for students who achieve a score between 200 and 234) requires that students take 5 credit hours of English Skills in one semester (EBS- 021). Students enrolled in this level cannot take more than 15 total credit hours.
The third level (for students who achieve a score between 235 and 239) requires that students take two credit hours of Directed Studies in Writing II (EBS 033) along with English Composition I. These are co-requisite courses.
The fourth level (for students who achieve a score between 240 and 249) requires that students take one credit hour of Directed Studies in Writing I (EBS-041) along with English Composition I.
All courses offered by EBS award “non-degree” credits. This means that EBS credits do not count in the total number of credits required for graduation. In most cases, these credits do not transfer to other colleges.
EBS courses are averaged into a student’s cumulative grade point average. So good grades in EBS courses can help a student can get off to a good start in college.
Students exit the EBS program by successfully completing their courses and receiving a passing score on the English Basic Skills Mastery Exit Test. This essay test is administered in the last weeks of the semester and is graded holistically by members of the EBS faculty. Students enrolled in EBS 014/015 can exit the program after this course if they achieve an “A” in their course work and pass the English Mastery Test.
Students enrolled in EBS 011 may accelerate to WRT101 & EBS 033 if they earn a “B” or higher, a passing score on the Mastery Test, and a formal professor recommendation.
The AIMS Program (Academic Intervention and Monitoring System) is an academic and instructional support program designed for students who are most at risk in a college environment because of their deficiencies in reading, writing, thinking, and mathematical skills. AIMS exists to help these students achieve academic success, remain in school, and develop a greater sense of independence and self esteem.
- Testing: Once admitted to the college, all students must take Accuplacer, a basic skills assessment test, to determine their appropriate entry level English and mathematics courses. Students are placed in the AIMS program as a result of meeting all three of the following criteria:
- A Total English score of 159 or below on the English portion of the placement test.
- A score of 76 or below on the Computation portion of the placement test.
- The commitment to attend BCC as a full time, day student, either degree seeking or non-degree seeking.
Additional testing may be done to insure that students have been properly placed. Students may take a challenge examination in English, mathematics, and algebra before classes begin. The results of the challenge tests are final. Students should contact the Office of Testing and Assessment, L-121, for further details.
- Orientation and Registration: Individualized orientation and registration sessions are held for students in the AIMS program. The orientation sessions are conducted by the administrator of the program, and registration follows immediately.
- Course Requirements: Students in the AIMS program are required to take a 14 credit schedule, 12 non-degree credits and 2 degree credits, in their first semester. The required courses are:
- Developmental Skills I: (EBS-014/015) the first course of a two course basic skills sequence designed to improve fundamental academic skills in the areas of reading, writing, and critical thinking. Class instruction emphasizes the development of literal comprehension, sentence structure, grammar and punctuation, and vocabulary.
- Basic Mathematics: (MAT-011) a study of the fundamental operations of arithmetic. In addition, students must take Basic Mathematics Support (MAT-010).
- Basic Communications: (SPE-005) a practical course specifically designed to improve general communication skills. The course provides usable techniques in speaking and listening skills.
- Introduction to the College Experience: (IST-121) a learning opportunity for new students which includes communication skills, critical reasoning, problem solving, study skills, time management, and goal setting.
- Schedules: The required courses are patterned into four-day schedules wherever possible. Students register for a pre scheduled pattern of classes.
- Counseling: Counseling is scheduled into each pattern through the Introduction to the College Experience class. Counselors meet with class groups or individual students for academic, personal, and career counseling.
- Class Size: AIMS classes range from 15 to 18 students to provide a maximum opportunity for individualized instruction.
- Faculty: Faculty are asked to participate in the AIMS program based upon their interpersonal skills, strength in subject matter, commitment to the program, and understanding of the special needs of developmental students.
The effectiveness of the program is determined through academic success reports, retention studies, student evaluations, and faculty comments. Some of the outcome indicators which help to judge program effectiveness are student passing rates, student attrition rates, grade point averages, and credits attempted to credits earned ratios.
The AIMS program is a joint effort supported by the School of Arts and Humanities, the School of Business, Mathematics, and Social Sciences, the School of Student Services, and the Office of the Academic Vice President. Currently, the program is directed by Prof. Kelly Keane of the EBS Department, with the assistance of divisional liaisons.
Bergen Community College has created the AIMS program to help serious, motivated, but under prepared students achieve academic success in their first difficult semester at the college. Through a continuous process of assessment and evaluation, the program will be modified to meet the changing needs of the students.