Improving the Odds for Students Academically Underprepared for College Coursework

Committee of Jurisdiction: Education

Introduction

Research has shown that students entering college who are placed into remedial or developmental education programs are often underprepared for college coursework. According to a 2017 report by the U.S. Department of Education, in the 2011-12 academic year approximately one third of first-year undergraduates in the United States were enrolled in at least one developmental course. The report also showed that participation in developmental coursework is even higher for African-Americans given that 57 percent of black students entering college were enrolled in a developmental course.  Similarly, in 2016 ACT reported only 11 percent of the African-American graduates that took the ACT showed a “strong readiness for college course work.”

Academic achievement gaps start early, and many African-American students are not adequately prepared before college.  The 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress  report revealed that African-American students in K-12 are performing at significantly lower levels than students of other demographics, and “The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2015: African American Students” shows that even when African-American students take the recommended high school classes to prepare for college, they are significantly less likely than other students who take similar classes to meet college readiness benchmarks.  

To better prepare postsecondary students in developmental education programs, some states have begun to implement co-requisite remediation as an alternative to the traditional remediation model. Co-requisite remediation is an approach to developmental education that places postsecondary students in entry-level college courses while they simultaneously receive remedial academic support.

A number of states have already seen success with the co-requisite remediation model. For example, in West Virginia co-requisite remediation caused the percentage of post-secondary students who completed the English gateway course to rise from 37% to 68% and from 14% to 62% for the Math gateway course. Tennessee, Indiana, Georgia, and Colorado saw similar gains in student completion of gateway courses. Some states, like Tennessee, also saw increased post-secondary student retention with the co-requisite remediation model. According to Complete College America, a major advocate for co-requisite remediation, at least 20 other states are looking to implement some form of co-requisite remediation in their public institutions of higher learning soon.

The National Black Caucus of State Legislators has addressed the need for remedial education in colleges when it passed Resolution 00-48, “Reaffirming Access and Opportunity,” which confirmed NBCSL’s commitment to requiring remedial instruction at the college level.



State Action

NBCSL members have taken steps to implement the co-requisite remediation model in their states’ public institutions of higher education.

TEXAS

House Bill 2223 (2017), an Act Relating to Developmental Coursework by Public Institutions of Higher Education under the Texas Success Initiative
texas NBCSL Sponsor: Rep. Helen Giddings

Summary:  Requires developmental education offered by institutions of higher education to use a co-requisite model under which a student would concurrently enroll in a developmental education course and a freshman level course within the same subject area.

Goals: This bill seeks to enhance the developmental education system of public institutions by accelerating the transition to a co-requisite model where students enroll in gateway courses while simultaneously receiving the needed support to bring them up to speed.

Point(s) of Discussion: None
 
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