Student Progression Through Developmental Sequences in Community Colleges
Developmental education is designed to provide students with weak academic skills the opportunity to strengthen those skills enough to prepare them for college-level coursework. The concept is simple enough—students who arrive unprepared for college are provided instruction to bring them up to an adequate level. But in practice, developmental education (or “remedial” education, we use these terms interchangeably) is complex and confusing. Experts do not agree on the meaning of being “college ready,” and policies governing assessment, placement, pedagogy, staffing, completion, and eligibility for enrollment in college-level, credit-bearing courses vary from state to state, college to college, and program to program. The developmental education process is confusing enough simply to describe, yet from the point of view of the student, especially one with very weak academic skills and little previous success in school, it may appear as a bewildering set of unanticipated obstacles involving several assessments, classes in more than one subject area, and sequences of courses requiring three or more semesters of study before the student (often a high school graduate) is judged prepared for college-level work.
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