Instruction and Curricula

MDRC has examined innovative instructional and curricular approaches such as learning communities in which students take linked courses together, summer bridge programs to prepare incoming freshmen for college-level studies, mentoring for students in low-level math courses, and developmental education classes combined with college-level classes.

The Latest
Issue Focus

Forty percent of all entering college students and over half of entering community college students must take at least one remedial course. Fewer than half make it through developmental education. This two-page Looking Forward memo provides an overview of research evidence in four areas of developmental education reform.

Brief

A promising new community college intervention involves a revised developmental math course that emphasizes statistical and quantitative reasoning skills to align with students’ fields of study. In a random assignment evaluation at four schools in Texas, students report a qualitatively different experience with math instruction.

Key Documents
Report

Six-Year Effects of a Freshman Learning Community Program at Kingsborough Community College

Students who participated in a one-semester learning community, in which small groups of student took three linked classes together and received other extra services, were more likely to have graduated six years later. The program also proved to be cost-effective.

Report

What We Know About Improving Developmental Education

One of the greatest challenges that community colleges face in their efforts to increase graduation rates is improving the success of students in their developmental, or remedial, education programs. Emphasizing results from experimental and quasi-experimental studies, this literature review identifies the most promising approaches for revising the structure, curriculum, or delivery of developmental education and suggests areas for future innovations in developmental education practice and research.

Brief

A Preview of a CUNY Start Evaluation

This innovative developmental education program at the City University of New York offers intensive academic instruction and advising to CUNY’s least prepared community college students before they matriculate. The evaluation will examine the program’s effect on academic outcomes among students with very low levels of basic skills.