Seattle Central College

Case Study Hero

Three Times as Many Students Earn A's and Show Increased Confidence While Using Connect Spanish

After Dr. David Quintero fully implemented Connect Spanish, 72% of his students in his online section earned A's in comparison to only 24% earning A's a year before. Not only did grades go up, but student confidence went up too. "Students are more confident in speaking Spanish and are more comfortable making mistakes in an effort to learn the language," says Quintero.

Dr. Quintero administers all homework, tutorials, and exams in Connect and benefits from the automatic grading. He says, "My class time is entirely devoted to speaking Spanish with simulations, games, and story building exercises." His grading time has been reduced by at least 50%. "I grade incrementally now as I hear the students' improvement in speaking, reading, and writing Spanish. I have more time to work with and sit among my students in each class, instead of having to grade homework to calculate a grade."

Connect Spanish is the best in the market for 21st century learners.
Dr. David Quintero

Implementation of Connect Spanish

Course grade is determined by the following:
40% – Exams administered in Connect
30% – LearnSmart®
18% – Connect Homework (Chapter Reviews)
10% – DVD Work
2% – Reading the syllabus and taking the syllabus quiz

Using Connect and LearnSmart, Professor Quintero is able to make his students focus more on using the language instead of completing grammar and vocabulary activities only. Quintero says, "Students enjoy practicing in class what they have done online." Quintero assigns an average of four assignments per week, and his students can study using digital homework resources, grammar tutorials, and chapter reviews.

All of Quintero's exams are administered in Connect . He says, "Students love taking the exams online because they can make multiple attempts, have the ability to get immediate feedback, and can correct their own answers." Fewer students come to his office for elementary queries, and more students use e-mail for higher-level questions. Quintero says, "Students are much more professional now. They ask fewer grammatical questions in the classroom and we have more time for speaking Spanish."

Quintero uses the Most Challenging Learning Objective report in LearnSmart to identify where students are struggling. Quintero says, "For example, if students are having difficulties using the definite article, I can prepare an activity for class that would further explain its use and we can use class time to practice." Quintero also uses data collected from this report and additional LearnSmart reports, such as Progress Overview, Student Details, Missed Questions and Metacognitive Skills to help him prepare additional lectures to address students' most common errors.

He also utlilizes Connect reports including, Assignment Results, Student Performance, Category Analysis, and At-Risk to help him identify what kinds of learners his students are. The reports give him the information necessary to advise at-risk students on patterns he sees regarding time and effort spent to complete the homework. Quintero says, "The Student Performance report helps me see specifically how many attempts a student has made, so I can more effectively address the student's difficulty with the coursework." The Category Analysis report in Connect helps him confirm his students are learning vocabulary, grammar, and listening comprehension skills. He says, "Connect Spanish provided me with evidence of how well my students are accomplishing our Outcomes Goals. I show this data to the Curriculum Development Committee in charge of accreditation."

Results Achieved

As Quintero fully implemented Connect and LearnSmart homework and tutorial resources into his online section, the number of students who earned A's increased. In Fall 2014, 24% of Quintero's students earned A's (Figure 1). By Fall of 2015, 72% of his students earned A's.

Seattle Central College Figure 1

Quintero's grading time was cut in half for chapter exams in all sections. Before fully implementing Connect , Quintero would spend 8 to 10 hours each week grading five page exams for 90 students (Figure 2).

Seattle Central College Figure 2
Connect Spanish allows students to be responsible and accountable for their own learning and their own grades. Students can empower themselves to do better and can see how objective the grading is.


Before Dr. Quintero implemented all of Connect Spanish learning tools, 24% of his students earned A's in his online section. However, now that he and the students are taking full advantage of the chapter reviews, homework exercises, and reports available, that percentage has increased to 72%. "Connect Spanish is a friendly and exciting software that didn't just upload the lab manual / workbook into a digital format; instead, LearnSmart has metacognitive aspects that is helpful for the students."

Digital Product in Use: McGraw-Hill Connect® Spanish
LMS Integration: Blackboard
Course Name: Spanish 121
Course Type: Face to Face and Online
Credit Hours: Four
Program in Use: Experience Spanish Puntos de partida by Maria Amores, Jose Suarez-Garcia, and Anne Wendel
Instructor Name: David Quintero, PhD
Enrollment: 30 students Online, 60 students Face to Face, 210 year (university total)
Case Study Terms: Fall 2014 (Minimal Implementation), Fall 2015 (Complete Implementation with LearnSmart)

Instructor's implementation goals:

  • Engage students more in the classroom by doing more speaking and interacting in Spanish
  • Provide a tool for the students to be more responsible and accountable for their efforts to learn and to practice Spanish
  • Improve student performance

Issues for instructor before using Connect:

  • Students were not performing well in the course
  • Students were not engaged in the class discussions
  • Instructor needed a better way to manage homework and grading tasks

Benefits to instructor after using Connect:

  • More students are earning A's
  • Class time can be used for speaking and practicing Spanish in person
  • Less time is spent with basic grammar and homework questions
  • Instructor spends less time grading and more time engaging students in speaking Spanish and participating in cultural activities

Course Description:

Spanish 121 is designed to begin building basic skills in listening, speaking, and reading Spanish. Additionally, the course provides an introduction to the Latin American/Spanish culture. This 8-week course also gives students the opportunity to learn using online software and interactive technology to enhance the second language learning process.

Institution Profile:

Over 16,000 students attend Seattle Central College each year in pursuit of a wide range of educational opportunities that include two bachelor's degrees, 32 associate degrees, and 45 professional certificates in 28 fields of study. Almost half of the students are enrolled in programs that prepare them to transfer to four-year colleges and universities.