An Examination of the Impact of Accelerating Community College Students' Progression Through Developmental Education

In an effort to improve developmental education students’ outcomes, community colleges have been experimenting with acceleration strategies. Models of acceleration allow students to complete their developmental requirements in a shorter amount of time. However, there has been limited empirical research on the effects of accelerating students’ progression through their developmental requirements.

This article examines the impact of a basic form of acceleration—enrollment in shorter versus longer developmental education sequences—on access to introductory college coursework, performance in that coursework, overall college credit accumulation, and degree attainment at the City University of New York community colleges. In general, accelerating students through developmental education in shorter sequences results in greater access to college-level coursework and long-term success but may have consequences for student performance in college-level coursework.

This article appears in The Journal of Higher Education, vol. 85, no. 2.