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Building Foundations for Student Readiness: A Review of Rigorous Research and Promising Trends in Developmental Education. An NCPR Working Paper.

ERIC Descriptors: Graduation Rate; Developmental Programs; Remedial Instruction; Adjunct Faculty; College Preparation; School Readiness; Community Colleges; College Students; Teaching Methods; Intervention; Models; Job Training; Student Personnel Services; Skill Development; Job Skills; Professional Development; Student Placement; Educational Research; Best Practices; Dual Enrollment; Summer Programs; Transitional Programs; Acceleration (Education); Context Effect; Vocational Education; Tutoring; Literature Reviews

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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. This literature review seeks to examine research on developmental education strategies and reforms and identify the most promising approaches for improving developmental education students' success. The key focus is on investigating those strategies with rigorous evidence showing improvements in students' achievement and suggesting areas for future innovations in developmental education practice and research. This analysis focuses on four different types of interventions for improving students' progress through remedial education and into college-level courses, including (1) strategies that help students avoid developmental education and move directly in college-level work; (2) interventions that accelerate students' progress through developmental education; (3) contextualized instructional models that connect students with workforce training and college-level courses; and (4) supplemental supports aimed at improving students' success. The findings from this study suggest that while research on best practices in developmental education abounds, little rigorous research exists that documents the effects of these reforms on students' achievement. The most promising strategies for moving students more quickly through remedial courses and into college-level work tend to be those that: (1) help students build their skills before entering college; (2) integrate students' into college-level courses; and/or (3) provide clear opportunities for the development of occupational and workforce skills. Exploration of more radical approaches to transforming developmental education is also recommended. Finally, suggestions for tackling the institutional challenges to implementing developmental education reforms, such placement tests, adjunct faculty, and professional development, are also provided. List of Journals Reviewed is appended. (Contains 7 tables and 164 footnotes.)

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Author:Zachry, Elizabeth M.; Schneider, Emily
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Date:Sep 23, 2010
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