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

Increasing the Success of Students Assessed at the Lowest Levels

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Read the full Jam report: Turning Around Failure: System Triage for Severely Under-Prepared Adults in Higher Education HERE.

The Education Commission of the States, Jobs for the Future and Knowledge in the Public Interest are exploring how institutions can serve students who are placed at the lowest levels of remedial education. At a time when a postsecondary credential is viewed as the ticket to the middle class, it is more important than ever for higher education to explore how it can best serve all students who seek the skills they need to compete in a competitive global economy.

The data are clear – students placed at these levels have a very slim chance of ever passing a college level course, much less earn a college credential.  What is less clear is who these students are, why they fail and what can be done to best serve them.   In a time of limited resources, many institutions are considering referring many of these students to adult basic education, workforce training programs or other basic skills programs.  While we understand the practicality of investing in students that can succeed, we are not convinced that referring them elsewhere is the answer.

To address this challenge, ECS, JFF and KPI convened an online jam for over 150 institutional, system and state leaders to explore how to best serve students who are placed 2, 3 or more levels below college ready at postsecondary institutions. The jam provided valuable insights about the challenges that many students face when they are placed at the lowest levels of remedial education. The jam also provided some possible strategies on how to best address those challenges. 

To examine this issue in more depth, ECS, JFF and KPI will be publishing a series of blog posts that we hope will highlight some of what was learned from the jam and strategies that institutions should consider to address the challenges students face.

We encourage you to follow these blogs, offer your comments and help us understand how to ensure that all students, regardless of what level they are assessed at, have the opportunity to earn a college credential.

The Increasing the Success of Students Assessed at the Lowest Levels Blog Series: