CAPR Link Roundup: Recent Developmental Ed Reports and Resources

One goal we have for the new CAPR blog is to highlight new and interesting studies on developmental education—from both inside and outside of CAPR, CCRC, and MDRC—and other resources for researchers and college officials seeking to understand dev ed and work on reforms. Here’s the latest.

IES Brief on Dev Ed Reform

In January, the U.S. Department of Education, which funds CAPR through the Institute of Education Sciences, released a brief looking at who is enrolled in developmental coursework and how prevalent it is in different sectors of higher education. The brief, Developmental Education Challenges and Strategies for Reform, also discusses the high cost of remediation and its effects on students’ ability to complete college. Finally, it explores promising strategies for reform, including improving college readiness among high school students, compressing dev ed sequences, corequisite remediation, and improved student supports.

What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guide

The IES brief is based in part on a What Works Clearinghouse practice guide released in late November, Strategies for Postsecondary Students in Developmental Education. Based on the recommendations from a panel of experts led by CAPR and CCRC’s Thomas Bailey, the guide outlines six major recommendations for reforming developmental education.

New Directions

The winter 2016 edition of New Directions for Community Colleges includes two articles relevant to the field. CAPR and CCRC’s Nikki Edgecombe writes about the structure and implementation of a redesign of developmental education in Virginia community colleges. “Addressing College Readiness Gaps at the College Door” by Elizabeth Friedmann, CAPR’s Michal Kurlaender, and Alice van Ommeren discusses the implementation of an early assessment program in California intended to reduce the need for remedial testing at community colleges and to help students get up to speed while still in high school. The authors also look at whether the program managed to lower the number of students assigned to remedial courses. Short answer: A bit.

Student Stories From Accelerated Stats Courses in California

In Capacity Unleashed, the California Acceleration Project tells the stories of students who took the accelerated statistics pathway available at 35 colleges in the state—bypassing sometimes several semesters of traditional remediation—and went on to succeed in college-level math. Many transferred to universities, and some are pursuing graduate studies.

“Critics worry that bypassing algebra remediation will leave students unprepared for the rigors of quantitative reasoning across the general education curriculum,” write Katie Hern and Myra Snell, cofounders of the California Acceleration Project. “Yet, despite their previous difficulties in math, the students in these stories successfully completed all lower division undergraduate requirements, including a rigorous transferable math course and quantitatively demanding courses in the sciences.”