National Study of Developmental Education Policies and Practices

National Study of Developmental Education Policies and Practices 2017-05-01T20:37:11+00:00

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:

  1. 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?
  2. What considerations or factors underlie institutions’ choices for particular practices?
  3. What are the major strategies they use to teach developmental education?
  4. 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)?
  5. 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?
  6. To what extent are developmental education reforms affecting the traditional open-door or open-access mission of community colleges?
  7. To what extent have colleges been able to engage a significant proportion of faculty in developmental education reform efforts?
  8. What is the nature and extent of the use of technology, especially online technology, for developmental education instruction?
  9. 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.

Lead Researcher:

>  Nikki Edgecombe

Recent Presentations:

What’s Next for Developmental Reform? Research Agenda of the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness

In this session, presenters introduced and discussed the research agenda of the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness (CAPR). The session focused on CAPR’s three primary research areas: the national landscape of developmental education, improving assessment and placement practices, and implementing innovative approaches to developmental math.

Presenters reviewed findings from prior research, elucidated how these findings have informed CAPR’s research focus, and led a discussion on how findings from CAPR’s forthcoming research can be used to advance policy and practice in developmental education.


Elisabeth Barnett, Community College Research Center and CAPR

Elizabeth Zachry Rutschow, MDRC and CAPR

Alexander Mayer, MDRC and CAPR


Research on Alternative Placement Systems
What’s Next for Developmental Reform?
The New Mathways Project


Achieving the Dream Annual Institute on Student Success

Date and Time:

February 18, 2015
2:45–3:45 PM


Baltimore, MD


Baltimore Convention Center | Room 341–342

>  View all presentations from this project