Examines the effects of participation in developmental education to predict entry and preparation for Oregon public high school graduates who enrolled in an Oregon community college.

“Nationwide, about two-thirds of community college students are considered academically underprepared for postsecondary coursework and must enroll in at least one developmental education (that is, non-credit-bearing prerequisite) course in math, reading, or writing….

This study addresses three research questions:

  • What are the rates of participation in developmental education among high school graduates who enrolled in an Oregon community college within six years after high school graduation?
  • What are the course progression, persistence, and degree attainment outcomes of recent high school graduates who enrolled in an Oregon community college by course starting level?
  • What demographic characteristics, high school academic experiences, and institutional factors predict participation in developmental education among high school graduates who enrolled in developmental education among high school graduates who enrolled in an Oregon community college within six years after high school graduation? 

Using student-level administrative data from the Oregon Department of Education, Oregon community colleges, and National Student Clearinghouse, this study examines the rates of participation in developmental education among four groups of Oregon public high school graduates who enrolled in an Oregon community college within six years after high school graduation: 

  • Recent high school graduates. …
  • Graduates who attended four-year college first. …
  • Graduates who attended another two-year college first. …
  • Graduates who delayed entry with no prior college experience. …

This study also examined the postsecondary outcomes of recent high school graduates who enrolled in community college and how high school experiences predicted participation in developmental education at community college among all four groups” (p. i).

 

“This study is intended to inform decisions on how to improve the transition from high school to college for recent high graduates who attend community college.” (p.1)

(Abstractor: Author)

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

Major Findings & Recommendations

This study found that nearly 75 percent of recent high school graduates who enrolled in an Oregon community college and graduates who delayed entry with no prior college experience took at least one developmental education course. In contrast, a much smaller share of graduates who attended a four-year college or another two-year college first took a developmental course. This study also found that recent high school graduates who started at a lower level of developmental education were less likely than their counterparts who started at a higher level to stay in college and earn a degree, which is consistent with findings from other research across the country. A third finding is that individual academic achievement in high school influences participation in developmental education at community college more than sociodemographic characteristics and school-level factors do, particularly among recent high school graduates. School-level factors were more important for influencing participation among graduates who delayed entry with no prior college experience and who attended a four-year college or another two-year college first. This suggests that the influence of school-level quality and other school characteristics on college readiness persists over time and continues to influence academic preparedness. Finally, the study also found that high school students who took dual-credit courses in certain subjects were less likely to participate in developmental education at community college. The findings suggest a foundational, actionable direction for improving students’ college readiness and success: targeting academic underpreparedness at the high school level, well before students graduate and enroll in college. Efforts to improve academic preparation that are shaped by high schools and postsecondary institutions working together, such as dual credit, may be particularly promising strategies for improving college readiness. Cross-sector efforts to address college readiness may also strengthen the impact of reforms in developmental education at community colleges in Oregon and across the country” (p. i.-ii.) (Abstractor: Author)