For developmental education students, rates of developmental math course completion and persistence into required college-level math courses are particularly low. This literature review examines the evidence base on reforming mathematics classroom pedagogy, which may be a potential means for improving the course completion and learning outcomes of developmental mathematics students. Each study examined for this review was classified into one of six sets: student collaboration, metacognition, problem representation, application, understanding student thinking, and computer-based learning.
Because most of the studies across the sets did not employ rigorous methods, the evidence regarding the impact of these instructional practices on student outcomes is inconclusive. Nevertheless, analysis of the studies that did employ rigorous designs suggests that structured forms of student collaboration and instructional approaches that focus on problem representation may improve math learning and understanding. This paper concludes by making a number of methodological recommendations, proposing several needed areas of research, and suggesting instructional practices that may improve the outcomes of developmental math students.