Improving Student Success by Strengthening Developmental Education in Community Colleges: The Role of State Policy

Far too many community college students, especially developmental education students, are at risk of failing, and thus at greater risk of not earning a living wage or advancing through job opportunities. This policy brief examines the challenges of developmental education and the efforts that states can pursue to increase the success of students enrolled in remedial courses, leading to improved rates of transition to credit-bearing courses. The authors recommend that state policymakers consider policy changes affecting data systems, assessment and placement, concurrent developmental and college-level course taking, financial aid eligibility, support services, and funding for new models of delivery. These recommendations are discussed along with brief examples of what a few states have done to increase student transition out of developmental education.

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