Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Location of Developmental/Remedial Coursework Predicts Successful Completion of College Algebra: A Study of Louisiana's Developmental Students

Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Location of Developmental/Remedial Coursework Predicts Successful Completion of College Algebra: A Study of Louisiana's Developmental Students

Article excerpt

Developmental education programs and services have long provided underprepared and unprepared postsecondary students with the academic tools and life-management skills necessary to successfully complete college-level coursework. In fact, developmental education has existed in some form in postsecondary education since the 17th century (Merisotis & Phipps, 2000). Developmental education has become an integral part of postsecondary education as evidenced by the fact that in 2000, more than 76% of all postsecondary institutions and 98% of all community colleges offered at least one developmental education course (Parsad & Lewis, 2003). Additionally, Sparks and Malkus (2013) found that in 2007-08, 24% of all first time freshmen attending 2-year and 21% of all first time freshmen attending 4-year public postsecondary institutions reported that they required at least one developmental course. According to Attewell, Lavin, Domina, and Levey (2006), the percent is higher with 40% of traditional college students needing at least one developmental course. Further, in a study of remedial and developmental education policies, Jenkins (2002) found that seven states had mandatory placement exams, 20 had placement policies or statutes, 22 tracked developmental students within their postsecondary education systems, and 37 required that postsecondary institutions report information about remedial and developmental education within the state (Williams, 2009). Wilson (2012) found that 35 states now have policies regarding placement in developmental education courses.

While developmental education has become an integral part of postsecondary education in this country, it has not existed without controversy. In recent years, there has been an increase in efforts to either eliminate or reduce developmental education programs in four-year institutions and relegate the majority of these courses to community, technical community, or technical colleges (Pretlow & Wathington, 2011; Wilson, 2012). Further, Wilson (2012) found that several states no longer fund developmental coursework at four-year universities.

The state of Louisiana has joined several other states in implementing statewide minimum admissions requirements that have affected the delivery of developmental programs and services within the state. In Louisiana, The Master Plan for Public Education: 2001 articulated minimum admissions standards that required students who needed more than one developmental education course to complete the courses prior to enrolling in four-year institutions (Board of Regents, 2001). More recently, the State of Louisiana implemented legislation that removed developmental education courses from public four-year institutions and placed them in community colleges (Board of Regents, 2010; 2012). However, as of June 2015 the policies were again revised and students may now be admitted to some regional four-year institutions if they need developmental coursework, but only two-year community colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities are permitted to teach developmental coursework (Board of Regents, 2015a; 2015b).

While there have been policy changes that have affected the location of developmental coursework, there are few studies that examine the relationship between location (i.e., where developmental students complete their developmental coursework) and their success in freshmanlevel coursework. It is therefore important to examine the outcomes of developmental learners before additional policies are implemented that may affect the state's population of developmental students. This study provides an examination of developmental course outcomes after the statewide minimum admissions standards were implemented within the state of Louisiana, but before the teaching of developmental coursework was restricted to community colleges. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine if the successful completion of college-level coursework could be predicted based on where students completed their developmental English and mathematics coursework (i. …

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