What the most promising corequisite programs have in common

Two out of three remedial students don't earn a degree.

Rather than serving as a launching pad for academic success, remedial courses often become a stumbling block for the students who take them, writes Jill Barshay for the Hechinger Report.

As higher ed leaders faces growing pressure to reform developmental ed and boost student outcomes, community colleges in Texas are turning to corequisite programs.

Researchers at RAND Corporation are conducting a study where they randomly assign some Texas community college students to a corequisite model, writes Barshay. In a corequisite framework, students take regular, credited courses but receive additional support, such as extra class periods, to bridge the gaps in their knowledge.

The effects of corequisite education on graduation rates won't be known until students start graduating in 2021, writes Barshay. But in response to a new Texas law requiring 75% of developmental education students to enroll in corequisite courses by 2020, researchers at RAND released a study on their early findings.

These early insights aim to help institutions learn from Texas colleges, says Lindsay Daugherty, one of the study's lead authors.

The easiest way administrators can implement a corequisite program is to simultaneously enroll students in pre-existing remedial and college-level courses, says Daugherty. But the most promising programs "start from scratch and really focus on what students need to succeed" within a corequisite context, she argues. The curriculum of the developmental course should complement that of the college-level course, so students understand how the two are connected.

Models that eliminate remedial courses altogether may also help students, adds Daugherty. Under these structures, extra support for students who would have been placed in developmental classes comes in the form of office hours or tutoring time. However, Daugherty acknowledges that finding funds to pay for extra hours from those instructors or tutors can be a barrier for community colleges (Barshay, Hechinger Report, 2/22/18).

Read more about developmental education

The surprising challenge holding up developmental ed efforts

A third of students in remedial classes don't need to be there

Why this college offers more than just academic support for corequisite students


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