NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED506374
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Aug
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 11
Evaluating the Impact of Remedial Education in Florida Community Colleges: A Quasi-Experimental Regression Discontinuity Design. NCPR Brief
Calcagno, Juan Carlos; Long, Bridget Terry
National Center for Postsecondary Research
The conceptual foundation for remedial education is straightforward: students are tested to determine whether they meet a given level of academic proficiency for college-level classes. For those who do not meet this level, deficiencies in skills are addressed through some form of supplementary instruction, most often remedial courses. The study summarized in this Brief employs a quasi-experimental design to examine remedial enrollment and outcomes of community college students throughout the state of Florida. Results of the study suggest that as a means for addressing the needs of under-prepared students, remediation has both benefits and drawbacks. After controlling for noncompliance and endogenous sorting around the placement test cutoff score, students on the margin of requiring math remediation were slightly more likely to persist to their second year. Similarly, the impacts of both math and reading remediation were positive in terms of the total (remedial and college-level) credits earned over six years. However, no effect was found on total college-level (non-remedial) credits completed. The likelihood of passing subsequent college-level English composition was slightly lower for reading remedial students, while no difference was found in future math course performance for math remedial students. No discernible impact was found in terms of certificate or associate degree completion or transfer to a public four-year college. Overall, the results suggest that remediation might promote early persistence in college, but it does not necessarily help students who are on the margin of passing the cutoff make progress toward a degree. The report concludes that additional effort is needed to estimate the impact of remedial courses on weaker students who score far below the placement cutoff necessary to take college-level courses. More work is also needed on the effects of remediation relative to its costs. Future research should also focus on institutional policies and practices, as well as particular services and classroom strategies, in order to explore differences in the effects of remediation by college and by remediation program design. [Additional support for this research was provided by the Spencer Dissertation Fellowship. The National Center for Postsecondary Research is a partnership of the Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University; MDRC; the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia; and faculty at Harvard University. This Brief is based on an NCPR Working Paper titled "The Impact of Postsecondary Remediation Using a Regression Discontinuity Approach: Addressing Endogenous Sorting and Noncompliance." For the full working paper, see ED501553.]
National Center for Postsecondary Research. Teachers College, Columbia University, Box 174, 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3091; Fax: 212-678-3699; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation for Education
Authoring Institution: National Center for Postsecondary Research (ED)
Identifiers - Location: Florida
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305A060010