High Developmental Education Rates Among Recent Grads


May 7, 2015


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As the national focus on community college grows, a new report released by REL Northwest unveils the developmental education enrollment rates and postsecondary outcomes of public high school graduates at Oregon community colleges.

Among the findings, the study shows that nearly 75 percent of recent high school graduates who enroll in an Oregon community college are required to take at least one developmental education course as a prerequisite before taking transfer-level, college classes. Additionally, students who start at lower levels of developmental education are less likely to finish school than their peers who start college on track.

According to study author Michelle Hodara, “The study provides further motivation for efforts underway in Oregon to align high school, college and career expectations; increase access to rigorous coursework for all students; and strengthen partnerships between high school and colleges.”

Analyzing state and national data from more than 100,000 students, the study also shows that students who perform better on the state assessment in high school are less likely to take developmental education courses in community college. Likewise, high school students who take dual-credit courses (and receive high school and college credit for the same coursework) in certain subjects are less likely to take developmental education. The malleable factors of individual academic achievement and dual credit course-taking impact the likelihood of taking developmental education in college far more than sociodemographic (such as race/ethnicity, income, and gender) and school characteristics.

The study was undertaken at the request of the Oregon College and Career Readiness Research Alliance (OR CCR), a research-practice partnership between REL Northwest and a large group of higher education, state, and school district policymakers and educators.