The United States must raise the graduation rates of community college students if it is to increase economic opportunity for individuals and improve the competitiveness of its workforce. Yet too many students arrive on campus academically underprepared and get placed into developmental (or remedial) courses where they fail to progress. For this reason, developmental education has been a major target of postsecondary reform in states and community colleges.
What Do We Know?
When they arrive at community colleges or open-enrollment universities, most students take placement exams in English and mathematics to determine whether they are ready for college-level courses. Students with low scores are referred to developmental courses. Forty percent of all entering college students and over half of entering community college students must take at least one such course. Fewer than half make it through.
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