Originally designed for students who test into at least two levels of developmental education in a particular subject area, FastStart is a compressed course program model launched in 2005 at the Community College of Denver (CCD). The program combines multiple semester-length courses into a single intensive semester, while providing case management, career exploration, and educational planning services.
This report discusses the development of FastStart, its program features, and student perspectives, and it presents findings from a quantitative analysis of the FastStart math program. The authors find that participation is associated with higher rates of enrolling in and passing college-level math courses but not with increased persistence or with increased accumulation of college-level credits. The analysis suggests that FastStart makes it possible for students to complete the developmental math sequence and required gatekeeper math course more quickly than would otherwise be possible, without harming other long-term academic outcomes. The report also analyzes pedagogical features of FastStart drawn from classroom observations and interviews.