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What Predicts Participation in Developmental Education Among Recent High School Graduates at Community College? Lessons from Oregon


May 2015


REL Study Cover

Each year, large numbers of college students are required to take and pass at least one developmental education course in math, reading, or writing before they are considered ready for college-level coursework. Many of these students spend time and money on developmental coursework but make little progress toward a degree.

This REL Northwest study, published by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), examines rates of participation in developmental education among recent Oregon public high school graduates. Key findings include:

  • Nearly 75 percent of recent high school graduates who enrolled in an Oregon community college took at least one developmental education (that is, non-credit-bearing prerequisite) course.
  • Recent high school graduates who started at a lower level of developmental education at community college were less likely than their peers who started at a higher level to stay in college and earn a degree.
  • Students who took dual-credit courses in high school in certain subject areas were less likely to participate in developmental education at community college.

The report's findings affirm the importance of efforts across Oregon to strengthen partnerships between high schools and colleges, increase access to rigorous coursework in high school, and redesign developmental education.

View, download, and print the report as a PDF file via the IES website.