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Tennessee has been actively engaged in the reform of remedial education for the past four years through a variety of initiatives. The Tennessee Board of Regents Developmental Studies Redesign Initiative has resulted in a new system-wide policy for the delivery of what they are terming “learning support” for students who are assessed and determined to need some level of academic instruction before being admitted to college-level coursework in their areas of deficiency. The policy will create greater accountability for success of students who require learning support by requiring all campuses to submit three-year plans for increasing student success. Campuses will be evaluated against benchmarks to include student success in learning support, student success in subsequent college-level courses, student persistence and graduation.
In addition, the project will result on agreed upon competencies in math, reading and writing that students will need to demonstrate before entering college level coursework. The policy will enable exit points out of learning support based on the academic requirements of their chosen major program of study. The new policy will also provide broad guidelines for the delivery of instruction based on the best practices identified through program pilots that took place on six campuses.
The Complete College Tennessee Act that was passed by the Tennessee legislature in 2010 also reforms remedial education. In particular, the Act now prevents four-year colleges and universities from offering remedial education courses. Instead, students will be able to be co-enrolled in four-year colleges and community colleges, at least until they complete their remedial instruction. In addition, the Act requires the development of a strategic plan for higher education and the development of a performance funding model that may or may not include performance measures related to remedial education.