Skip to main content

Reforming Developmental Education to Better Support Students’ Postsecondary Success in the Common Core Era: Core to College Evaluation

By Kathy Reeves Bracco, Kim Austin, Daniel Bugler, Neal Finkelstein


When students first enroll in college, they are required to demonstrate readiness for college-level work. Course placement depends on standardized assessments, and students who do not attain a satisfactory score are typically assigned to developmental (e.g. remedial) education courses.

The theory behind this approach has been that remedial education will help these students succeed in credit-bearing courses at a later date. However, these courses may not always be effective in helping students achieve success. For example, college completion rates are particularly low among students who are required to take developmental coursework.

Accordingly, policymakers and practitioners have begun questioning the effectiveness of current developmental education systems, the process for assessing students and placing them in developmental courses based on the assessments, and the design and makeup of the courses themselves.

This brief, written by Kathy Reeves Bracco and WestEd’s Kim Austin, Daniel Bugler, and Neal Finkelstein, examines two states’ recent efforts to redesign their developmental education programs to support student success.

Resource Details

Product Information

Copyright: 2015
Format: PDF
Pages: 8
Publisher: WestEd