Panel Paper: Experimental Evidence on the Short Term Impacts of Corequisite Remediation

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Lincoln 3 - Exhibit Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Trey Miller1, Lindsay Daugherty2, Russell Gerber3, Paco Martorell4, Courtney Tanenbaum1, Christina LiCalsi1 and Rebecca Medway1, (1)American Institutes for Research, (2)RAND Corporation, (3)Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, (4)University of California, Davis

As the proportion of the U.S. population seeking a college education grows in response to changing occupational needs and challenging economic realities, a growing share of students enrolling in college are not academically ready to do so (ACT, 2013). Traditionally, by way of complex and expensive assessment and placement systems, over 60 percent of community college students each year are identified as underprepared for college-level coursework, and are typically placed in a variety of developmental courses as a result. Various estimates indicate that less than half of the students placed into traditional developmental education complete the required sequence of developmental courses, and even fewer of these students complete a single gatekeeper course within three years of initially enrolling (Bailey, Jeong, & Cho, 2010).

Faced with mounting evidence suggesting that a significant proportion of students are being misdiagnosed for developmental education (Scott-Clayton, Crosta, & Belfield, 2012), and that many who are assigned to developmental coursework are not performing well in traditional developmental courses (Rustchow and Schneider, 2011), states and higher education institutions have developed and implemented a number of innovations designed to improve how students are placed into and taught in developmental education.

One increasingly common reform to developmental education is referred to as corequisite remediation. In a corequisite model, students are placed directly into the first college-level course in a subject, while simultaneously enrolling in some form of DE support in that same subject. While existing research on corequisite remediation is encouraging, it is primarily descriptive or quasi-experimental and focuses on short term outcomes (Cho et al., 2012; Edgecomb et al., 2014; Jaggars et al., 2014). Despite this lack of rigorous causal evidence on the impact of corequisites, advocacy organizations and states have worked to rapidly scale them, with several states including Tennessee and Texas requiring the majority of underprepared students seeking academic credentials to receive corequisite remediation.

In this presentation, we report short term impact findings from the first of four cohorts of students participating in the first multiple site randomized controlled trial evaluation of corequisite remediation for students who are underprepared in reading and / or writing. 975 near college-ready students from the first cohort were randomly assigned to a corequisite model that placed students directly into the first college level English course paired with a DE support or the highest level DE reading and writing course. Results suggest that the corequisite increased the probability of passing a first college level English course within one academic year by 25 percentage points. Traditionally underrepresented groups including first generation college students, Hispanic students, and students whose first language was non-English benefited from corequisite remediation at least as much as more traditional college students. These findings are similar to those from past quasi-experimental studies, and demonstrate that near-college ready students can benefit from corequisite remediation.