Early Findings from a National Survey of Developmental Education Practices
Millions of students judged to be academically underprepared must take developmental education courses in college. More than half of those students never make it through or graduate. Experts argue that there are two main problems: first, that too many students who do not need the help are being placed into developmental courses; and second, that the structure and traditional instructional practices in developmental education can pose barriers to student success.
Educators are working on several innovations to address these issues, but not much is known about the breadth and scale of reforms across the country. CAPR is conducting research to examine these issues, and this brief presents early findings from its nationally representative survey of nearly 1,000 open-access and nonselective postsecondary institutions.
The survey reveals that community colleges are increasingly using measures such as high school grade point average in addition to standardized tests to assess students’ readiness for college-level math and reading. Community colleges are also experimenting with a variety of instructional reforms, including compressing the length of developmental education, offering a variety of math pathways that align with different programs of study, and combining developmental reading and writing courses.
A full report on the survey results for both two-year and four-year institutions will dig more deeply into these questions. The report will be supplemented by findings from qualitative interviews and will be posted in 2019.