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Referral, Enrollment, and Completion in Developmental Education Sequences in Community Colleges

By: Thomas Bailey, Dong Wook Jeong & Sung-Woo Cho

Abstract

Referral, Enrollment, and Completion in Developmental Education Sequences in Community Colleges

Many students entering community colleges are referred to one or more levels of developmental education. Until now, there has been little research on student progression through multiple levels of developmental education and into entry-level college courses. 

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the patterns and determinants of student progression through sequences of developmental education, starting from initial referral. Results indicate that fewer than one half of the students who are referred to remediation complete the entire sequence to which they are referred. About 30 percent of students referred to developmental education do not enroll in any remedial course, and only about 60 percent of referred students actually enroll in a remedial course.

Overall, the analysis indicates that more students exit their developmental sequences because they did not enroll in the first or a subsequent course than because they failed or withdrew from a course in which they were enrolled.

A version of this paper was published as an article in Economics of Education Review, vol. 29, 2010.

A brief of this paper, Student Progression Through Developmental Sequences in Community Colleges, is available for download.