A one size fits all approach to remedial instruction where students must enroll in one, two or more semesters of remedial instruction has not proven to be effective. Research from the Community College Research Center has found that most students who require remedial education do not complete their remedial education sequence within one year. Many do not even enroll in a single remedial course.
Fortunately, there are many emerging models and strategies for successfully redesigning how remedial education is delivered that have yielded promising results.
While instruction and student services are typically the purview of postsecondary institutions, policy can play a role to encourage, incent or require institutions to engage in the reform of instructional delivery.
Policies can provide broad guidelines for the use of technology and other strategies for all students, while other policies trigger the implementation of alternative delivery models to serve unique populations such as high school students or adult basic education students.
As states and systems set specific policies for how remedial education students are served, they must consider whether these strategies have a proven track record of success or whether the strategies will undergo periodic evaluation to determine if they are achieving their desired results.
GPG encourages states to consider the following questions as they consider policies to reform remedial education instruction:
- Should policy clearly articulate the need for differentiated delivery models for students depending on their level of developmental placement?
- Should there be clearly defined competencies that students must achieve in order to complete remedial education?
- Should you require institutions to customize instruction to address specific student deficiencies?
- Should you only deliver instruction on the competencies required for a student to enter their desired academic program?
Model Policies and Examples
Tennessee Board of Regents A-100 Guideline
The Tennessee Board of Regents A-100 guideline articulates that institutions must use evidence based instructional delivery strategies to include modularization and the technology based instruction. In addition, completion of remedial education is based on students successfully demonstrating specific competencies in reading, math or writing. Competencies, not courses will be registered on student transcripts.