Fewer than one in 10 community-college students who start in remedial courses completes an associate degree within three years. Nearly four in 10 fail even to finish their remedial sequences. Advocates for reforming remedial, or developmental, education often cite such statistics as evidence of a broken system. “A bridge to nowhere,” they call it—one that just might need to be torn down.
But those who have dedicated their careers to helping underprepared students succeed in college call the figures misleading and the reformist groups touring the country misguided. That frustration erupted here this month at the annual meeting of the National Association for Developmental Education, where leaders in the field urged their colleagues to fight back against a national movement to eliminate many remedial courses.
“We need to promote the real truth about developmental education,” the association’s president-elect, Taunya Paul, chair of developmental studies at South Carolina’s York Technical College, told about 1,400 educators here. “To no longer let those outside the field define it, distort the facts, and reduce access to developmental education.” <Read more.>