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Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness

July 2014−June 2019

The Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness (CAPR) carries out research on innovative approaches to remedial assessment, placement, and instruction, and is operated by CCRC in collaboration with social policy research organization MDRC and scholars at Stanford; The University of California, Davis; and Vanderbilt. 

CAPR is led by principal investigator Thomas Bailey and co-principal investigator Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, the director of MDRC’s Young Adult and Postsecondary Education division. The center will conduct three major studies:

  • A national study to survey the characteristics of developmental students, the dominant remedial practices across two- and four-year colleges, and the nature and extent of reforms that have been recently implemented or are in process.
  • A randomized control trial in partnership with the State University of New York’s community college system to test the effectiveness of a “data analytics” assessment and placement system that relies on more information, including high school records, than the traditional method of placing students into remedial education.
  • A randomized control trial at several Texas community colleges comparing the New Mathways Project—a program developed by the Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin to engage students in more active learning of math curricula that are tailored to specific academic pathways—with the traditional remedial and introductory college math sequence.

In addition to the above studies, CAPR will carry out smaller-scale quasi-experimental studies of innovative approaches to remediation, including California’s Early Start, a program that requires non-proficient California State University students to complete remediation in the summer before their freshman year, and an Emporium model of developmental math instruction that modularizes the curriculum and incorporates online learning, now in place at all two-year and some four-year colleges in Tennessee.

The center consists of two primary institutional partners: CCRC and MDRC. In addition, Clive Belfield (City University of New York), Eric Bettinger and Susanna Loeb (Stanford University), Michal Kurlaender (University of California, Davis), and Angela Boatman (Vanderbilt University) will be members of the research team.

The center is funded with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences.

Project Lead