ERIC Number: ED453893
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-Feb
From Black Box to Pandora's Box: Evaluating Remedial/Developmental Education.
Grubb, W. Norton
The roster of developmental programs available to students in community colleges is expanding, though remedial education itself does remain a marginal aspect of higher education. The programs are usually under-funded, segregated from "regular" offerings, and taught by part-timers. This report suggests that the colleges are sending signals that developmental education is not "real" education. The author details the vast array of different approaches to developmental/remedial education available in institutions of higher education. These approaches range from Shaughnessy's student-centered approach to the more conventional "skills-and-drills" approach and the remedial education offered in the welfare-to-work programs. The author finds that most educators who have made the transition form didactic to constructivist teaching have done so on their own, and thus the teaching methods seem random and idiosyncratic. He recommends an eclectic approach to the evaluation of remedial education which includes six parts: (1) investigation of the drop-out rates in remedial education; (2) outcome measures that include more than test scores of basic skills; (3) use of comparison or control groups in order to better evaluate the impact of completion; (4) understanding of the program being evaluated; (5) comparisons of different approaches to teaching; and (6) better understanding of the "assignment" problem. The author concludes that a program of evaluation and improvement is central to improving the performances of developmental and remedial students. (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Columbia Univ., New York, NY. Community Coll. Research Center.