Current State of Developmental Education:

• Approximately three-quarters of higher education institutions that enrolled freshmen provided remedial writing and mathematics courses while 57% offered remedial reading courses (National Center for Education Statistics, 1995).

• 29% of all first-time freshmen enrolled in at least one of these courses in the fall of 1995.

• Virtually all public two-year colleges – 99% - offered remedial courses in each subject area [reading, writing, and mathematics] (Institute for Higher Education Policy, 1998).

• 4 out of 5 (81%) public four-year institutions provided at least one remedial reading, writing, or mathematics course (Institute for Higher Education Policy, 1998).

• 63% of private four-year institutions offered at least one remedial writing, reading, or mathematics course (Institute for Higher Education Policy, 1998).

• Freshmen were more likely to enroll in a remedial mathematics course than in a remedial reading or writing course, irrespective of the institution they attended (Institute for Higher Education Policy, 1998).

• Mandatory placement is required in developmental courses by 75% of all United States institutions.

• Some states are changing the format of how developmental education is being offered to students [e.g. paired/linked courses, adjunct instructional support].

• Some institutions may not report that they enroll students who need remediation for fear of tarnishing their image of excellence (Astin, 1998).

Current Cost of Developmental Education

• It is estimated that less than one percent, $1 billion of $115 billion in public higher education budget, is spent on developmental education and learning assistance programs.  Additional analysis found that the unit cost of developmental education courses were less than other academic content areas such as English, math, or business (Phipps, 1998).  This was surprising since most developmental education courses have class sizes much smaller than most core academic subjects.

Impediments to Collection of Reliable Data about Costs of Remediation

• A definition of what constitutes remedial [developmental] education is not universally accepted by the academic community.

• There is no consensus definition of who is a remedial student within higher education.

• How “costs” are distributed among the several activities within a college or university can, and do, vary widely. 

• Even if it is understood what functions are to be included in determining the cost of remediation, higher education institutions have difficulty supplying precise breakdowns of remediation costs.

• It is not always clear whether reported cost figures include expenditures or appropriations.

• Timelines of data is often significant, as states do not compute remediation education on a regular basis [available financial data can be several years old].

• Remedial education at the college level is a more cost-effective investment when compared to the alternatives of unemployment and low-wage jobs to welfare participation and incarceration (Institute for Higher Education Policy, 1998).

Focus on Reading:

• Statistics are indicating that if reading is at the core of the remedial problem for some students, the probability of success in college is lower (Adelman, 1998).

• It is imperative for reading skills to be adequate to meet the requirements of textbook reading assignments.

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Last updated  2008/09/28 05:59:56 PDTHits  155