Developmental Education

Brief

Practices, Justifications, Outcomes, and Limitations

June, 2022

Many colleges are exploring alternative assessment models, such as informed self-placement (ISP), to increase student enrollment and success in entry-level college courses and to identify students who would benefit from developmental (remedial) instruction. This literature review provides a discussion of the methods used to implement ISP and justifications for its use.

Brief

An Exploratory Study of Student Outcomes and Placement Practices

June, 2022
Jessica Brathwaite, Dan Cullinan, Elizabeth Kopko, Tiffany Morton, Julia Raufman, Dorota Rizik

Informed self-placement (ISP) helps college students determine whether they are ready for entry-level college courses or need remedial education first. This brief explores the potential of ISP to improve students’ access to college-level courses and gives colleges an opportunity to consider placement-method changes that may boost student success.

Brief

A Brief Synthesis of 20 Years of MDRC’s Randomized Controlled Trials

June, 2022

What works to help community college students progress academically? This brief synthesizes 20 years of rigorous research by MDRC, presenting new evidence about key attributes of community college interventions that are positively related to larger impacts on students’ academic progress.

Brief
January, 2022
Dan Cullinan, Elizabeth Kopko

Two experimental studies examined multiple measures assessment (MMA), in which colleges use alternative measures (like high school GPA) rather than just standardized test scores, to assign students to developmental or college-level courses. Students placed using MMA were more likely to complete college-level courses. This brief offers recommendations for other colleges.

Report

Three-Semester Findings from an Experimental Study of Multiple Measures Assessment and Placement

December, 2021

Some students are referred into developmental (or remedial) education inappropriately when placed using only standardized placement tests. When multiple measures assessment was used, students in Minnesota and Wisconsin were more likely to enroll and pass college-level math and English courses within three semesters. The additional cost of this alternative assessment averaged $33 per student.

Issue Focus

Lessons from Growth Sector’s STEM Core Program

July, 2021
Oscar Cerna, Marco Lepe, Elizabeth Zachry Rutschow

Millions of community college students, particularly students of color and women, don’t complete the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses critical to succeeding in the modern economy. This brief examines one program that combines increased academic support, out-of-classroom activities, accelerated coursework, and other components to help improve student outcomes.

Issue Focus

A Synthesis of Post-Program Effects in Higher Education

March, 2021

Some education programs’ early positive effects disappear over time, while other programs have unanticipated positive long-term effects. This Issue Focus introduces The Higher Education Randomized Controlled Trials, an examination of program effects after a postsecondary education program ends, using a database drawn from 31 MDRC projects, sampling 67,400 stu­dents.

Working Paper

A Synthesis of Findings on the ASAP Model from Six Colleges Across Two States

February, 2021

This paper presents new estimates of the effects of the City University of New York (CUNY) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) model, evaluated first in New York and later in Ohio. It shows long-term effects in New York on degrees earned and consistent effects in both states.

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