Video: Looking Ahead to the Culmination of CAPR Research in 2019

With the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness racing toward its final year in 2019, the center’s three major projects will soon put out results from their research into some of the fundamental questions around developmental education. If placement tests do a poor job of evaluating students’ readiness for college-level courses, what do we replace them with? How do we ensure math courses don’t derail the college education of large numbers of students? How are colleges responding to all the discussion around the need for developmental education reform?

In the first half of 2018, CAPR is expecting to release reports on preliminary findings from a survey on developmental education practices, on the effect of colleges’ use of multiple measures placement systems rather than standardized tests alone to place students in developmental courses, and on CAPR’s evaluation of math pathways in Texas, which was the subject of an earlier report. Thomas Bailey, CAPR’s director, discusses in a new video what we can expect from CAPR in the coming months and how it connects to the larger community college reform movement.


With CAPR entering its last two years, Director Thomas Bailey discusses what is expected from the center’s three major research projects

We’re looking forward to the results that we’re getting. I think the math pathways project looks like there’s good preliminary results, at least in terms of getting students through remediation and into college-level courses. The assessment study has suggested that it has influenced the placements of students. I think we’re hopeful about those. We don’t have ultimate outcomes. We’ve done a survey of developmental ed practices in both two- and four-year colleges, and I think that shows us that there is reform taking place, although I think there still needs to be more.

I think that in general there’s a broad reform movement in developmental education, and I think we can really help that. We can help push that forward. We can provide better evidence about things that work. So I think it’s a very good time for us to be reaching this stage of research in our center.

Connecting developmental education to the broader community college reform movement

One thing I think is important as far as the general landscape of reform is the guided pathways movement, which is really a comprehensive set of reforms. It is designed to both create better, more coherent pathways for students, to help them get on those pathways, to help them stay on those pathways. So there is a lot of reform going on, and I think that certainly developmental education is part of that, especially helping students get on those pathways. But I don’t think those two have been adequately integrated. So I’m hoping that the kinds of discussions that we have, the sorts of conversations that we hope to promote over the next couple of years, will help bring those two movements together.