The Skills and Trajectories of Developmental Ed Learners

What do we know about successful developmental education students and programs? A recent special issue of Community College Review provides provocative perspectives and enhances the research base in this area.

Listen to a podcast of the special issue in which the co-editors (Heidi Silver-Pacuilla, Dolores Perin, and Brett Miller) discuss the findings and what they learned about developmental education through the process of coordinating the special issue.

The issue includes four research articles:

  • A literature review of studies describing the literacy skills of developmental education students and instructional approaches used in “Literacy Skills Among Academically Underprepared Students” by Dolores Perin of Teachers College, Columbia University;
  • A retrospective analysis of the limitations of various research methodologies in “The Deconstructive Approach to Understanding Community College Students’ Pathways and Outcomes” by Peter Bahr of the University of Michigan;
  • An analysis of the behaviors and trajectories of nearly 8,000 students in “Outcome Trajectories of Developmental Students in Community Colleges” by Christine Bremer and colleagues of the University of Minnesota; and
  • A report of a writing instruction intervention in “Self-Regulated Strategy Instruction in Developmental Writing: A Design Research Project” by Charles MacArthur and Zoi Philippakos of the University of Delaware.

An introduction by the co-editors is available for free download. It sets the context of the urgent need for more attention to be paid to developmental education, provides an overview of the articles’ findings, and articulates productive future research and policy directions.