Getting Past Go (GPG) collected, summarized and analyzed more than 50 state and higher education system reports on developmental education, which, to our knowledge, is the most extensive effort to date on this front.
Overall, GPG’s analysis found that data contained in the reports fell into three main categories related to remedial/developmental education: student participation, student success and cost. Arguably, states and postsecondary education systems that collect and report data on all three categories are better positioned to improve and eventually reduce the need for remedial services, and as a result, to increase college completion rates.
GPG was impressed by the sheer number of reports, and undoubtedly, far more exist. But our analysis revealed that the remedial education data are not comparable or consistent across states, andsometimes even withinstates.So, GPG would like to offer up a provocative question:
Should states create more common standards for reporting developmental education data?
Collecting similar data could help document the full extent of remedial education needs, implement effective policy strategies and delivery models, establish performance goals, and continually evaluate progress. States and postsecondary systems should consider establishing common reporting standards for the following data areas:
- Student populations: total enrollment, but this population could be broken down by groups such as recent state high school graduates and first-time freshmen
- Student characteristics: demographics; high school preparation (courses and test score results); level of remedial needs; and college aspirations
- Student success:passing developmental education courses, persisting to a second year, succeeding in subsequent college courses, graduating with a degree/certificate and transferring to four-year institutions.
Hopefully, policymakers and higher education leaders will use GPG’s analysis to revisit and possibly revise their state’s reporting of remedial education. Further, GPG would advocate that the information gleaned from the reports be used to focus on the solutions to developmental education rather than simply on the problems.