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A national public policy initiative to improve developmental studies in postsecondary education

The Rundown on Remedial Education — Second Issue, May 2010

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Welcome to the second issue of The Rundown on Remedial Education from the Education Commission of the States’ Getting Past Go (GPG) Initiative. Since our last issue, remedial education has grabbed some big headlines in the education world. Getting Past Go has also been busy working with state leaders on how we can move the needle on the success of students in need of remedial coursework. Following is the latest in the world of remedial education.

The Coexistence of Consistency and Creativity in Remedial Education Reform
Check out our latest commentary that showcases how states are moving to greater standardization in their assessment and placement policies, but not compromising creativity or innovation in remedial education delivery in the process. The piece was inspired by our latest online Jam entitled, “The Heart of the Matter: Assessment, Placement and Delivery in Remedial Education” that was held on April 29, 2010. Over 63 remedial education leaders from throughout the country participated in what was our most active Jam to date. The Jam featured exciting innovations in Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Baltimore, Colorado and more. A analysis of the Jam will be available in the coming weeks.

State Reporting on Developmental Education: Analysis of Findings
Check out our latest publication on state reporting on remedial education. Getting Past Go (GPG) analyzed more than 50 state and higher education system reports on college remedial/developmental education. Overall, GPG found that data contained in the reports fell into three main categories related to developmental education: student participation, student success and cost. The GPG analysis also suggests that states should consider creating more common standards for reporting developmental education data. The analysis was informed by our Jam entitled, “Telling the Story of Developmental Education: Using Data to Develop a State Strategy,” that took place in February, 2010.

New Policies in the States
As state legislatures and higher education boards wrap up their business for the year, we are tracking some of the new policies that are being adopted. A couple that caught our eye include:

Alaska’s Task Force on College and Career Readiness
In May 2010, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell signed Senate Bill 221 which, among other provisions, creates a legislative Task Force on Higher Education and Career Readiness. The task force will focus much of its work on college remediation and will provide recommendations to the legislature by April 2011.

California’s Early Start Program
In March 2010, the California State University Board of Trustees adopted the “Early Start” policy to help students address deficiencies in math and English before their freshmen year. The CSU plans to use its existing Early Assessment Program test for high school juniors to determine whether students are good candidates for the new program.

GPG in the USA
Getting Past Go is excited to be providing technical support to states that are examining their remedial education policies. Some of the activities that GPG will be involved with include:

Attending the Complete College America Inaugural Convening of the 22 states that have committed to work together to significantly increase college completion rates, in Nashville, TN on June 3 and 4. . . Presentation to provosts and system level leadership at the Oklahoma Board of Regents on June 9. . . Continued support to the Tennessee Board of Regents as they move to adopt new system-wide policies for remedial education.

GPG would love to come to your state to support your efforts to improve remedial education policy. Please contact Project Director, Bruce Vandal at or by phone at 303.299.3611.

In the News . . .
Melinda Gates rolled out the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s new $110 million dollar strategy to invest in the reform of remedial education during a keynote address at the American Association of Community Colleges convention in Seattle. . . Jobs for the Future released their policy framework for the states involved in the Developmental Education Initiative . . .The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education released its May issue of National Crosstalk featuring an article on the Tennessee Board of Regents Redesign Initiative and the issue of remedial education. . . MDRC released this case study on the impact of assessment and placement policies on remedial education delivery.