New Report Finds Comprehensive Data Critical to Successful Remedial Education

The Education Commission on the States’ Getting Past Go (GPG) project recently surveyed and analyzed state and higher education systems’ reports on developmental, or remedial, programs.  In their report, State Reporting on Developmental Education: Analysis of Findings, GPG found that states, in regard to remedial programs, reported on three main categories:

  • Student Participation
  • Student Success
  • Cost of Developmental Education

Each category serves as an important element in tracking data of developmental education programs for postsecondary students. Looking at student participation will show how many students are being served through these programs. Monitoring student success is important as it shows how well these programs are serving the students and what is or is not working. The final category, cost, will determine the efficiency, when partnered with the above two categories, of remedial education.

One of the major findings from this report was that, “States and higher education  systems that report on all three areas – participation, success and cost – appear better positioned to improve and eventually reduce the need for remedial services, and as a result, to increase college completion rates.”

In addition, the report found that while it is necessary to track the pass rates of remedial courses, it is not the only thing that matters. Tracking students through their postsecondary careers and seeing whether they graduate is vital for the United States to remain globally competitive. States that do track all of this information, as well as the participation, success and cost of remedial courses, will be able to improve their programs more easily and provide better services for students.

Tracking developmental education will allow states to discover their strengths and weaknesses. As stated in the article, “The need for this direction (monitoring developmental education programs) is rooted in a reality: Despite efforts to reduce the need for remediation, history, demographic trends and economic conditions ensure that significant numbers of students — of all ages — will require additional support before entering college‐level courses and attaining a degree.”

The report also highlights a number of examples where states are tracking the progress of students in remedial courses to evaluate their effectiveness and to eventually improve these services.


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