Curricular/Instructional Reforms

Issue Focus

Adapting the Evidence for 2020 and Beyond

June, 2020

MDRC has studied a number of strategies for helping students stay in college and succeed there. Lessons from some of these models may be readily adapted to support students and close equity gaps now and after the COVID-19 pandemic. This Issue Focus offers three lessons taken from MDRC’s evaluations.

Issue Focus

Three Insights from Research

June, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic means community colleges cannot administer in-person tests to determine whether students must take developmental (remedial) courses. But some colleges were already using multiple pieces of information for course placement, rather than a single test score. This brief offers three relevant insights from research on these placement systems.

Report

Interim Implementation and Impact Findings from New York City’s P-TECH 9-14 Schools

May, 2020

This report evaluates a program focused on preparing students for college and career. Based on partnerships among high schools, community colleges, and employers, the program offers accelerated high school course work, early college, and work-based learning experiences. The findings suggest that students are meeting the benchmarks they need to succeed.

Report

A Study of a Transition Program Serving Students with Low Math Skills at a Community College

March, 2020
Angela Boatman, Oscar Cerna, Kayla Reiman, John Diamond, Mary Visher, Elizabeth Zachry Rutschow

A four-week course to prepare students for developmental-level math did not attract many students who were referred to it. While some participants gained needed skills, most did not complete the course or move on to developmental math, and communication about the course among staff, faculty, advisors, and students was inconsistent.

Report

Three-Year Results from the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) Ohio Demonstration

January, 2020

This report presents findings through three years from a replication of the City University of New York Accelerated Study in Associate Programs model at three community colleges in Ohio. The Ohio programs nearly doubled degree receipt through three years and led to an increase in transfers to four-year colleges.

Report

Early Findings from an Experimental Study of Multiple Measures Assessment and Placement

December, 2019
Dan Cullinan, Elisabeth A. Barnett, Elizabeth Kopko, Andrea Lopez, Tiffany Morton

This report examines colleges’ use of multiple measures to determine whether students take college-level or developmental education courses, a more accurate method than standardized placement exams. Using additional placement tests, high school transcripts, and student motivation evaluations places more students into credit-bearing courses, improving academic results and college completion rates.

Brief

Boot Camp at Tarrant County College

November, 2019

This study examined a “Boot Camp” program designed to reinforce basic mathematics functions for college students with limited math, reading, and writing skills, to prepare them for developmental-level courses. Three features made the program unique: computer-assisted, self-paced learning; a focus on individual learner progress; and in-class help from College-Readiness Advisors.

Report

Findings from the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways Impact Study

November, 2019
Elizabeth Zachry Rutschow, Susan Sepanik, Victoria Deitch, Julia Raufman, Dominique Dukes, Adnan Moussa

This instructional reform diversifies math course content so that it better aligns with students’ career interests. After three semesters, the reform increased developmental math students’ rates of taking and passing college-level math and accumulating math credits. Few effects have yet emerged on overall credit accumulation, degree receipt, or transfer to a four-year college.

Report

Findings from a National Survey and Interviews with Postsecondary Institutions

November, 2019
Elizabeth Zachry Rutschow, Maria Scott Cormier, Dominique Dukes, Diana E. Cruz Zamora

This report, based on a national survey of two- and four-year colleges, examines the current state of practices in developmental education assessment, placement, instruction, and support services offered to students. Reform efforts have accelerated, but new practices still reach less than half of students.

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