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.
The Importance of Evidence
In this essay, adapted from remarks made to the Growth Philanthropy Network/Social Impact Exchange 2014 Conference on Scaling Impact, MDRC President Gordon Berlin explains why developing reliable evidence of effectiveness is critical when expanding programs to a large scale.
An Impact Study of Eight Developmental Summer Bridge Programs in Texas
Eight developmental summer bridge programs offered accelerated and focused learning opportunities for entering college students with low skills in Texas. An evaluation shows positive impacts on introductory college-level course completion in math and writing, which faded by the end of two years. The programs had no impact on persistence or the average number of credits students attempted or earned.
An Implementation and Early Impacts Study of Eight Texas Developmental Summer Bridge Programs
For entering college students with low basic skills, eight intensive summer programs provided accelerated instruction in math, reading, and/or writing; academic support; a “college knowledge” component; and the opportunity to receive a $400 stipend. Early results suggest that participants were more likely to pass entry-level college courses in math and writing.
An Exploratory Focus Group Study
The Opening Doors initiative is designed to help low-wage workers, at-risk youth, and recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) earn college credentials as the pathway to better jobs and higher earnings. Concentrating on a program implemented in California, this report supplements efforts from an earlier Opening Doors focus group study to gain insights from low-income students on the factors that affect their ability to enroll in school and earn a college credential while balancing work and parenting responsibilities.