New Report Looks at Development Education Reforms in Oregon Community Colleges


February 13, 2017


Community college student

A new report from Education Northwest offers an early look at the implementation of developmental education reforms in Oregon. The report is based on a survey of staff at all 17 Oregon community colleges, as well as case studies at two colleges: Clackamas Community College and Southwestern Oregon Community College.

“This report is intended as a resource to support the adoption, adaptation, and scaling of developmental education redesign in Oregon,” says Michelle Hodara, one of the report authors. “The lessons learned can also inform other reform efforts, such as Guided Pathways work that seeks to transform the way community colleges serve all students.”

In 2013, the Oregon Community College Association convened a statewide work group to gather information about what other states are doing to improve developmental education and identify reforms with a high potential to decrease student attrition and the time it takes to complete a degree. The work group released its findings and recommendations in 2014.

The report includes recommendations to the state, based on the survey and case studies findings. These include flexible and sustained funding to support the reform effort, more professional development on implementing the reforms, and models of successful reform.

The report also offers several recommendations to the colleges. These include coordinating and aligning reform efforts across each campus, collecting data to track the progress and effectiveness of reform efforts, and focusing on staff and student outreach to communicate clearly about reforms.

“Large-scale, campuswide reform does not have to come from the top down,” Hodara says. “Oregon is an example of a statewide, grassroots reform movement in developmental education. The colleges highlighted in this report have successfully sparked innovations in multiple areas simultaneously. Now the challenge lies in sustaining and scaling the reforms. Continuing to focus on implementation through careful planning and measuring implementation progress will support institutionalization of innovations.”

Download “A Case Study of Developmental Education Redesign at Two Oregon Community Colleges.”