ERIC Number: EJ1034856
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Oct
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 46
Evaluating Effects of Developmental Education for College Students Using a Regression Discontinuity Design
Moss, Brian G.; Yeaton, William H.
Evaluation Review, v37 n5 p370-404 Oct 2013
Background: Annually, American colleges and universities provide developmental education (DE) to millions of underprepared students; however, evaluation estimates of DE benefits have been mixed. Objectives: Using a prototypic exemplar of DE, our primary objective was to investigate the utility of a replicative evaluative framework for assessing program effectiveness. Research design: Within the context of the regression discontinuity (RD) design, this research examined the effectiveness of a DE program for five, sequential cohorts of first-time college students. Discontinuity estimates were generated for individual terms and cumulatively, across terms. Subjects: Participants were 3,589 first-time community college students. Measures: DE program effects were measured by contrasting both college-level English grades and a dichotomous measure of pass/fail, for DE and non-DE students. Results: Parametric and nonparametric estimates of overall effect were positive for continuous and dichotomous measures of achievement (grade and pass/fail). The variability of program effects over time was determined by tracking results within individual terms and cumulatively, across terms. Applying this replication strategy, DE's overall impact was modest (an effect size of approximately .20) but quite consistent, based on parametric and nonparametric estimation approaches. A meta-analysis of five RD results yielded virtually the same estimate as the overall, parametric findings. Subset analysis, though tentative, suggested that males benefited more than females, while academic gains were comparable for different ethnicities. Conclusion: The cumulative, within-study comparison, replication approach offers considerable potential for the evaluation of new and existing policies, particularly when effects are relatively small, as is often the case in applied settings.
Descriptors: Developmental Studies Programs, Community Colleges, Two Year College Students, Program Evaluation, Program Effectiveness, Regression (Statistics), College English, Grades (Scholastic), Nonparametric Statistics, Meta Analysis, Gender Differences, Achievement Gains, Academic Achievement, Racial Differences
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A