Issues of Developmental Instruction in Higher Education and the Need for Change

Issues of Developmental Instruction in Higher Education and the Need for Change

Theresa Neimann (Oregon State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9775-9.ch014
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Achievement gaps are responsible for low high school graduation rates, low college enrollments, low college graduation rates, and lack of job readiness. Because many of today's high school students are not college ready, there is the need for developmental education in community colleges. Approximately 60% of high school graduates need to take remedial education courses before they can take credit bearing classes, and 76% of high school graduates do not meet ACT college readiness benchmarks. Dual enrollment is one way to address this issue. Opportunities to extend college credits to interested high school students have been increasing as an intervention strategy in preparing students for college, improving graduation rates, and reducing the time of college completion.
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Achievement Gaps In Student Learning

The current concern among the cadre of policy makers, educators, corporate leaders and other concerned citizens are in finding ways to close the achievement gaps, in order to bring students to higher levels of educational attainment (Bailey, Jeong & Cho, 2015; Higher Education Coordinating Commission, 2019). Some view this mission as a matter of basic fairness and equity—assuring that all students have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field—while others stress the broader social and economic consequences to society if the problem continues to be ignored (Goodman, Hurwitz & Smith, 2015). A report by McKinsey and Company (Economic Impact, 2009) cautioned that the persistence of achievement gaps in the U.S. is fostering a permanent national recession. It is estimated that one third of the nation’s jobs are in constant flux causing an economic pressure in the U.S. that is felt more in rural than urban communities (American Association of Community Colleges, 2012).

The prevailing principle suggests that if high school students were college ready there would not be the need for developmental education in community colleges in the first place (Bailey, Jeong & Cho, 2015; Higher Education Coordinating Commission 2019). When students enter college underprepared for core subjects such as math and English, they are far less likely to succeed in other subjects. Too many students in developmental courses never move onto credit-bearing work because they get stuck repeating the same course term after term, usually math and English (composition) (Santiago & Callen, 2010). This downward spiral is usually cyclic and wastes institutional and students’ time and resources with little or no bearing on students’ goals or success (Santiago & Callen, 2010; Thomas, Marken, Gray & Lewis, 2013).

To address this problem, many states have designed initiatives; for example, Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development WIA Workforce Investment Act of 1998, (TITLE II Accountability Policy and Procedures Manual PY 2012-2013.) was passed by the 105th Congress to address this issue. The audience served under Title II of the Workforce Investment Act, mostly consists of at-risk adults who are not completely literate or have limited skills for employment and self-sufficiency (Implementation and Impact of the WIA, 2010).

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