Community College Student Success. Developmental Education Placement Annotated Bibliography

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1 The Completion Arch: Measuring Community College Student Success Developmental Education Placement Annotated Bibliography Adelman, C. (2005). Moving into town and moving on: The community college in the lives of traditional-aged students. Washington, DC: Office of Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved June 25, 2010, from Author abstract: [This publication] offers a series of transcript-based portraits of traditional-age community college students. As of 2001, students under the age of 22 constituted 42 percent of all credit-seeking students in community colleges and those under the age of 24 constituted nearly three-fourths of first-time community college students. As the baby-boom echo continues to play out with larger high school graduating classes, and as national and state policies focus even more intensely on the intersection between secondary and postsecondary education, this group is of increasing importance to community colleges. The three portraits offered here are designed to help community college administrators and faculty, along with state higher education officers, in developing responsive indicators of institutional performance. They may also prove useful to researchers in refining and refreshing the questions they ask and the variables they employ when exploring similar terrain. Attewell, P. A., Lavin, D. E., Domina, T., & Levey, T. (2006). New evidence on college remediation. Journal of Higher Education, 77(5), Retrieved June 26, 2011, from ERIC abstract: Using college transcripts, we separate the effects of remedial coursework from high school preparation. For two-year colleges, taking remedial classes was not associated with less academic success. DEVELOPMENTAL EDUCATION PLACEMENT ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY 1

2 Bailey, T. (2009, Spring). Challenge and opportunity: Rethinking the role and function of developmental education in community college. New Directions for Community Colleges, 145, Author abstract: This chapter provides a national context about how students progress in community colleges across the country. It includes data about students who take developmental education courses, how they move through the developmental course sequence, the obstacles they face when completing their intended course of study, and programs and practices that appear to help students meet their goals. The work and research for this chapter were carried out as part of the Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count initiative. (An earlier version of this article is available at Bailey, T., Jeong, D. W., & Cho, S.-W. (2010). Referral, enrollment, and completion in developmental education sequences in community colleges. Economics of Education Review, 29(2), Retrieved September 26, 2011, from After being assessed, many students entering community colleges are referred to one or more levels of developmental education. While the need to assist students with weak academic skills is well known, little research has examined student progression through multiple levels of developmental education and into entry-level college courses. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the patterns and determinants of student progression through sequences of developmental education starting from initial referral. Our results indicate that fewer than one half of the students who are referred to remediation actually complete the entire sequence to which they are referred. About 30 percent of students referred to developmental education do not enroll in any remedial course, and only about 60 percent of referred students actually enroll in the remedial course to which they were referred. The results also show that more students exit their developmental sequences because they did not enroll in the first or a subsequent course than because they failed or withdrew from a course in which they were enrolled. We also show that men, older students, African American students, part-time students, and students in vocational programs are less likely to progress through their full remedial sequences. (Contains 10 tables.) (An earlier version of this article is available at Bettinger, E. P., & Long, B. T. (2005, Spring). Remediation at the community college: Student participation and outcomes. New Directions for Community Colleges, 2005(129), DEVELOPMENTAL EDUCATION PLACEMENT ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY 2

3 ERIC abstract: This chapter explores the characteristics and features of remedial education at community colleges, examines participation in these courses, and reviews findings on the effects of remediation on student decisions and outcomes. Boatman, A., & Long, B. T. (2010, September). Does remediation work for all students? How the effects of postsecondary remedial and developmental courses vary by level of academic preparation. NCPR Working Paper. New York: National Center for Postsecondary Education. Author abstract: This study addresses this hole by examining the impact of remedial and developmental courses on students at multiple points on the preparedness distribution. Using longitudinal data from Tennessee, we estimate the effects of placement into varying levels of mathematics, reading, and writing courses for students attending public four- and two-year colleges and universities. This is possible due to the state s multi-tiered system in which students could be assigned into one of four levels of mathematics and one of three levels of reading and writing courses. Therefore, unlike previous studies, we examine the effects of remediation on a wider range of students than previously analyzed. Using regression discontinuity (RD) techniques, we provide causal estimates of the effects of placement on a number of student outcomes, including persistence, degree completion, the number of total and college-level credits completed, and college GPA. The results suggest that remedial and developmental courses do differ in their impact by the level of student preparation. Similar to other research, we find negative effects for those students on the margins of needing any remediation. However, at the other end of the academic ability spectrum, the negative effects of remediation were much smaller and occasionally positive. These results suggest that remedial and developmental courses help or hinder students differently depending on their level of academic preparedness. Calcagno, J. C., & Long, B. T. (2008, July). The impact of postsecondary remediation using a regression discontinuity approach: Addressing endogenous sorting and noncompliance. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series. NBER Working Paper No Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved June 17, 2011, from Author abstract: This study uses a detailed dataset to identify the causal effect of remediation on the outcomes of nearly 100,000 college students in Florida. Using a Regression Discontinuity design, we provide causal estimates while also investigating possible endogenous sorting around the policy cutoff. The results suggest math and reading remedial courses have mixed benefits. Being assigned to remediation appears to increase persistence to the second year and the total DEVELOPMENTAL EDUCATION PLACEMENT ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY 3

4 number of credits completed for students on the margin of passing out of the requirement, but it does not increase the completion of college-level credits or eventual degree completion. Taken together, the results suggest that remediation might promote early persistence in college, but it does not necessarily help students on the margin of passing the placement cutoff make long-term progress toward earning a degree. Collins, M. L. (2008, July). It s not about the cut score: Redesigning placement assessment policy to improve student success. Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count. Policy Brief. Boston: Jobs for the Future. Author abstract: Placement assessment policy, which governs how colleges assess the academic skills of entering students and place them in courses that are appropriate for their skill levels, can be an important lever for increasing student success in community colleges. A coherent policy would indicate which students must be assessed, specify assessment instruments, set cut score standards, and articulate procedures to be used uniformly across a state. Well-designed placement assessment policies also can help increase student success in a number of ways, and they can be used to help improve the college readiness of incoming students. Dougherty, K. J., & Reid, M. (2007, April). Fifty states of Achieving the Dream: State policies to enhance access to and success in community colleges across the United States. New York: Columbia University, Teachers College, Community College Research Center. Retrieved June 17, 2011, from ERIC abstract: In each of the states where Achieving the Dream colleges are located, the initiative is working with a lead organization typically the state community college system office or state association of community colleges to develop policies that will enhance student success. To help guide that policy effort, an audit of state policies affecting access to, and success in, community colleges was conducted. As a first step, in-depth analyses were conducted of the initial seven Achieving the Dream states. The second step was to survey all 50 states on selected state policies. This report conveys the results of that survey, describing what policies the 50 states have in place with respect to key community college practices in three main areas: access, success, and performance accountability. Hughes, K. L., & Scott-Clayton, J. (2011, February). Assessing developmental assessment in community colleges. CCRC Working Paper No. 19. New York: Columbia University, Teachers College, Community College Research Center. DEVELOPMENTAL EDUCATION PLACEMENT ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY 4

5 Author abstract: Placement exams are high-stakes assessments that determine many students college trajectories. More than half of entering students at community colleges are placed into developmental education in at least one subject, based primarily on scores from these assessments, yet recent research fails to find evidence that placement into remediation improves student outcomes. While this has spurred debate about the content and delivery of remedial coursework, another possibility is that the assessment process itself may be broken. In this paper we argue that the debate about remediation policy is incomplete without a fuller understanding of the role of assessment. We then examine 1) the extent of consensus regarding the role of developmental assessment and how it is best implemented, 2) the validity of the most common assessments currently in use, and 3) emerging directions in assessment policy and practice. We conclude with a discussion of gaps in the literature and potential implications for policy and research. Martorell, P., & McFarlin, I. (2011). Help or hindrance? The effects of college remediation on academic and labor market outcomes. Review of Economics and Statistics, 93(2), Author abstract: Providing remedial (also known as developmental) education is the primary way colleges cope with students who do not have the academic preparation needed to succeed in college-level courses. Remediation is widespread, with nearly one-third of entering freshmen taking remedial courses at an annual cost of at least $1 billion. Despite its prevalence, there is uncertainty surrounding its short- and longer-run effects. This paper presents new evidence on this question using longitudinal administrative data from Texas and a regression discontinuity research design. We find little indication that remediation improves academic or labor market outcomes. Perin, D. (2006). Can community colleges protect both access and standards? The problem of remediation. Teachers College Record, 108(3), Author abstract: A large number of community college students have difficulty with postsecondary-level reading, writing, and math demands, necessitating remedial education. A qualitative case study was conducted to investigate state and institutional practices for remediation in 15 community colleges selected for region, size, and urbanicity. The six states in which the colleges were located varied on the level of regulation of institutional remedial policy and were placed on a spectrum ranging from laissez-faire to micromanagement. Most of the states and all the institutions in the study required the assessment of students academic skills, and the institutions mandated assessment even when the states did not require it. The DEVELOPMENTAL EDUCATION PLACEMENT ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY 5

6 types of assessment instruments varied, and subjective measures such as institutional tests, course grades, and student self-report played an important role in placement decisions. The colleges tended to require that low-scoring students attend remedial courses even in the absence of a state mandate. A wide variety of practices were used to determine student readiness to advance in or exit from remediation. Many of the institutions had procedures designed to require remediation early in the student s program, but both assessment and placement mandates appeared to be softened either at the state or institutional level, with the effect of reducing the number of students who were required to enroll in remedial courses. This trend is discussed as a struggle between the access mission of the traditionally open-door community college, and the drive to protect educational standards. Provasnik, S., & Planty, M. (2008). Community colleges: Special supplement to The Condition of Education 2008 (NCES ). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved June 26, 2011, from Author abstract: This Special Supplement to The Condition of Education 2008 provides a descriptive profile of community colleges in the United States, examines the characteristics of students who entered community college directly from high school, and looks at rates of postsecondary persistence and attainment among community college students in general. It also compares the characteristics of these institutions and of the students who enroll in them with those of public and private 4-year colleges and universities. Snyder, T. D., & Dillow, S. A. (2011). Digest of education statistics, 2010 (NCES ). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved June 10, 2011, from Author abstract: The 46th in a series of publications initiated in 1962, the Digest s primary purpose is to provide a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American education from prekindergarten through graduate school. The Digest contains data on a variety of topics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, and federal funds for education, libraries, and international comparisons. DEVELOPMENTAL EDUCATION PLACEMENT ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY 6

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