Press Release: How Are States Working to Improve Developmental Education Outcomes?

Published apr. 14, 2011

BOSTON, MA (April 14, 2011) — A publication released today by JFF examines what steps are being taken by six states to improve the outcomes of developmental education programs.

These states—Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia—are participants in the Developmental Education Initiative(DEI), launched in 2009 to help strengthen and scale up strategies for increasing the success of students in need of remedial coursework. The DEI states are advancing state policy efforts they began as partners in Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count.

Driving Innovation: How Six States are Organizing to Improve Outcomes in Developmental Education describes what these leading states have set out to do and why, the momentum they have developed, and their next steps.

“Close to 60 percent of incoming community college freshmen need remedial education,” said Michael Lawrence Collins, program director at JFF and author of the report. “If our nation’s community colleges want to make meaningful gains in student success, we have to change how remedial education is organized and taught.”

In order to help more students earn credentials with labor market value, DEI states are pursuing a research-based three-part policy strategy:

  • A data-driven improvement process that strengthens state capacity to collect, assess, and use longitudinal student data in support of institutional innovation;
  • A state-level innovation investment strategy that provides incentives for the development, testing, and scaling up of effective models; and
  • State-level policy supports that encourage the development and spreading of practices that can improve progress and completion for students in need of developmental education.

“More efficient and effective developmental education is being built today in these states,” added Collins. “We’re in the early stages, but we’re learning some powerful lessons that all colleges and states can benefit from.”

The Developmental Education Initiative consists of 15 Achieving the Dream community colleges that are building on demonstrated results to scale up developmental education innovations at their institutions. Six states are committed to further advancement of their Achieving the Dream state policy work in the developmental education realm. Managed by MDC with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Lumina Foundation, the initiative aims to expand groundbreaking remedial education programs that experts say are key to dramatically boosting the college completion rates of low-income students and students of color. The innovations developed by the colleges and states participating in the Developmental Education Initiative will help community colleges understand what programs are effective in helping students needing developmental education succeed and how to deliver these results to even more students. JFF provides technical assistance to DEI state policy teams.

Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count is a national nonprofit dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. Data-driven, student-centered, and built on the values of equity and excellence, Achieving the Dream is closing achievement gaps and accelerating student success nationwide by: 1) transforming community college practices; 2) leading policy change; 3) generating knowledge; and 4) engaging the public. Launched as an initiative in 2004 with funding from Lumina Foundation, Achieving the Dream is today the largest non-governmental reform movement for student success in community college history. With more than 160 community colleges and institutions, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 16 state policy teams—working throughout 30 states and the District of Columbia—Achieving the Dream helps 3.5 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.

About Jobs for the Future

Jobs for the Future works with our partners to design and drive adoption of education and career pathways leading from college readiness to career advancement for those struggling to succeed in today’s economy.
Twitter: @JFFtweets