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ERIC Number: ED540696
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jan
Pages: 124
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 11
Bringing Developmental Education to Scale: Lessons from the Developmental Education Initiative
Quint, Janet C.; Jaggars, Shanna S.; Byndloss, D. Crystal; Magazinnik, Asya
There is wide agreement that the well-paying jobs of the future will require postsecondary credentials. But for many students attending community college, developmental (or remedial) classes in reading, composition, and/or mathematics--the courses that students often must complete before they can enroll in courses that confer credit toward a degree--pose an often-insuperable barrier to progress. While over half of all community college students are judged to need at least one developmental class, the majority of students who are referred to developmental education do not complete their prescribed sequence of remedial courses, much less persist and obtain a diploma or certificate. To address this issue, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation created the Developmental Education Initiative (DEI) in 2009; Lumina Foundation for Education funded the evaluation. Fifteen colleges that had been early participants in Achieving the Dream (AtD): Community Colleges Count, a national community college reform network dedicated to evidence-based decision-making, were selected to receive grants of $743,000 each over a three-year period. The institutions are highly diverse in size, location, and the characteristics of the students they serve. The purpose of the DEI grants was to enable the colleges to scale up existing interventions, or establish new ones, that would help students to progress through developmental courses more rapidly and more successfully or to bypass these courses altogether. DEI funding also financed state policy teams that sought to influence state higher education legislation and policies. MDC, a North Carolina-based nonprofit organization, was selected as managing partner of the demonstration and in this role monitored and assisted the colleges, organized communications, and convened regular meetings of demonstration participants. Six other organizations made up the partnership that provided leadership and support for the colleges. Among these, MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research organization, was asked to evaluate the demonstration, with the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College, Columbia University, serving as evaluation partner. The directive to the evaluators was to examine the implementation of the DEI at the participating colleges. This report--the second and final report from the evaluation--relies on a combination of qualitative data (primarily interviews with key personnel conducted during the course of site visits to all 15 institutions and through periodic telephone calls with project directors) and quantitative data (information on participation and on student outcomes that the colleges regularly collected). It addresses three main questions: (1) To what extent did the colleges scale up their chosen developmental education reforms to serve more students?; (2) What factors affected the colleges' ability to expand their programs and practices?; and (3) To what extent were the colleges' strategies associated with improvements in student outcomes? The report also considers ways that participation in the DEI influenced the colleges more broadly. For these reasons, it may be of interest to other colleges looking to scale up reforms (especially reforms that are related to instruction and the provision of student supports), as well as to funders concerned about how best to support community colleges in bringing promising ideas to scale. Technical Appendix is included. Individual chapters contain footnotes. (Contains 16 tables and 6 figures.
MDRC. 16 East 34th Street 19th Floor, New York, NY 10016-4326. Tel: 212-532-3200; Fax: 212-684-0832; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation for Education
Authoring Institution: MDRC
Identifiers - Location: Connecticut; Florida; North Carolina; Ohio; Texas; Virginia
IES Cited: ED556127