A review of impact and implementation studies from the past 10 years, this report summarizes what is known about how innovations in developmental education (that is, remedial college courses) can improve student outcomes. It also identifies five principles that are essential to successful reforms.
A Brief Synthesis of 20 Years of MDRC’s Randomized Controlled Trials
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.
An Exploratory Study of Student Outcomes and Placement Practices
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.
Practices, Justifications, Outcomes, and Limitations
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.
A Synthesis of Post-Program Effects in Higher Education
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.
A Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluation of a Developmental Education Reform at the City University of New York
CUNY Start aims to prepare students with significant remedial needs for college-level courses. This working paper reports that over three years, CUNY Start substantially increased college readiness, slightly increased credit accumulation, and modestly increased graduation rates (by increasing participation in another highly effective program).
A Synthesis of Findings on the ASAP Model from Six Colleges Across Two States
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.
This brief from the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness, a project of the Community College Research Center and MDRC, presents four case studies on how community college state systems changed course placement policies and supported new placement practices in the midst of the pandemic.
A college degree remains critical to unlocking opportunity and to accessing America’s middle class, yet millions of students who pursue higher education never earn degrees. This memo, produced with Results for America, draws lessons and policy implications from two decades of rigorous research in postsecondary institutions focused on addressing this problem.
In this commentary, originally published in Community College Daily, President Marcia Ballinger of Lorain County Community College describes how Lorain’s comprehensive student success program, SAIL, has persevered during the pandemic — and offered lessons for school’s overall response to COVID-19.