N.C. Community College System Recognizes PCC Transitional Studies Success

The G.H. Leslie Building on PCC's main campus is home to the college's Transitional Studies Department.

WINTERVILLE—The N.C. Community College System (NCCCS) recently recognized the outstanding performance of Pitt Community College Basic Skills students, whose Measurable Skill Gain (MSG) rate during the 2020-21 academic year exceeded state and national standards.

According to PCC Transitional Studies Director Laurie Weston, the college earned a memo of recognition from NCCCS President Thomas Stith III after 480 Basic Skills participants posted a 47.9 percent MSG rate. She said PCC’s mark surpassed state performance measure standards and was ninth-best among North Carolina’s 58 community colleges.

“We are extremely proud of this accomplishment, which is largely due to our faculty and staff’s excellent teaching and commitment to students, as well as our strong collaborations with partners within the college and throughout our community,” Weston said. “The PCC Transitional Studies Department has been fortunate to have built strong relationships throughout our community that provide resources, support, guidance and connections to help our students attain their goals.”

Weston explained that PCC’s MSG rate indicates the percentage of students who enroll in an adult literacy program at the college, such as Adult Basic Education, English Language Acquisition and Adult High School, and attain at least one gain. A “gain,” she said, is achieved when a student “moves up at least one educational functioning level” as determined by one or more of the following:

  • Pre- and post-program assessment
  • Completion of 75 percent of required high school Carnegie units
  • Adult High School completion
  • High School Equivalency diploma (GED or HiSET) attainment
  • Enrollment in curriculum or continuing education programs that lead to employable credentials upon exiting the Basic Skills program.

Weston said students are not considered “participants” in PCC’s Basic Skills program until they reach 12 hours, and she noted that the college’s MSG rate was nearly six percentage points higher than the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’s target of 42 percent.

“These targets go up each year, and PCC has attained or exceeded them consistently over the past several years,” Weston said. “We’ve surpassed the state’s ‘excellence’ standard two years in a row, despite having to move all of our classes online in the 2019-20 academic year and most of them online, to at least some degree, during the 2020-21 academic year.”

Weston said members of PCC’s Transitional Studies Department “go above and beyond instruction alone” to help students.

“I can’t overstate how crucial it was that our staff and teachers are completely committed to serving and helping our students reach their goals,” she said. “We are fortunate to have a faculty and staff that work very hard, stay up-to-date on adult learning research and strategies, and willingly learn how to teach and work with students at a distance.”