CAPR is conducting a descriptive study to help delineate the landscape of developmental education and reform across the country, investigating a variety of important aspects of developmental education. This five-year study asks the following research questions:
- What assessment tools and practices do community colleges and other open-access institutions currently use to assess the reading, writing, and mathematics skills of incoming students and determine their readiness for college-level courses?
- What considerations or factors underlie institutions’ choices for particular practices?
- What are the major strategies they use to teach developmental education?
- Are there different approaches used for traditional students (coming straight from high school) than for nontraditional students (who may be older and coming from the workforce or from adult education programs)?
- To what extent are developmental education assessment and instructional practices aligned with the college and career readiness criteria reflected in the Common Core State Standards?
- To what extent are developmental education reforms affecting the traditional open-door or open-access mission of community colleges?
- To what extent have colleges been able to engage a significant proportion of faculty in developmental education reform efforts?
- What is the nature and extent of the use of technology, especially online technology, for developmental education instruction?
- Do the delivery of remediation and the characteristics and experiences of developmental students differ between for-profit and public institutions?
The Study Design
This descriptive study is principally built around a nationally representative survey of institutions. However, other important sources of evidence will include qualitative interviews with institutional and state-level representatives; information drawn from existing data and research; and a detailed analysis of developmental students at a large, multi-campus, for-profit institution.