Xu, D. (2016). Assistance or obstacle? The impact of different levels of English developmental education on underprepared students in community colleges. Educational Researcher.
Developmental education is the most common approach used by community colleges to assist underprepared students for college-level course work. Yet there is limited evidence regarding this strategy on students assigned to the lowest level of the developmental sequence. This paper extends current knowledge on this critical question by examining the impacts of different levels of developmental reading and writing on students’ academic outcomes. The results suggest that the impacts are generally insignificant for students on the margin of needing developmental course work, yet the estimates are negative on students assigned to the lowest level of the developmental sequence. The results therefore support the increasing national push to reform these programs.