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IES Grant

Title: Exploring Co-Requisite Developmental Education Models
Center: NCER Year: 2021
Principal Investigator: Park, Toby Awardee: Florida State University
Program: Postsecondary and Adult Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (08/01/2021 – 07/31/2025) Award Amount: $1,549,630
Type: Exploration Award Number: R305A210319

Co-Principal Investigator: Mokher, Christine

Purpose: This project extends the body of research on co-requisite remediation at the postsecondary level to understand the relationship between institution-level decisions about the structure and intensity of co-requisite courses and students' postsecondary outcomes. The project will attend to whether institution-level decisions lead to improved outcomes for students of different race/ethnicities, English Language Learner (ELL) status, level of academic preparation, and gender. This project responds to Texas House Bill (HB) 2223, which requires all public colleges to implement co-requisite developmental education (DE), where underprepared students enroll directly in introductory college-level (gateway) math and English courses and receive DE support at the same time. While co-requisite DE is an increasingly popular policy option across the U.S., Texas is the only state that has mandated co-requisites as the primary DE model at all public institutions. This line of research is important for ensuring that education agencies and institutions are making decisions about co-requisite implementation that best support the learning needs of diverse groups of students. At the state level, the findings will provide insight into decisions such as whether to require 100% participation in co-requisites or change exemption criteria. At the institution level, the results may inform modifications to the types of co-requisite courses offered or ways to advise students about which options to select.

Project Activities: Researchers at Florida State University will lead a collaboration with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to conduct an exploratory study of the relationship between institutional decisions on implementing co-requisite courses and postsecondary student success in Texas, as well as whether these relationships are moderated by student characteristics. This mixed-methods study will include collecting and analyzing administrative data to explore variation in student outcomes by co-requisite structure and intensity, and the extent to which these relationships may differ based on students' academic preparation, race/ethnicity, ELL status, or gender. The research team will conduct site visits to obtain feedback from college instructors and students about the benefits and challenges of each co-requisite format. Working from documents obtained during the site visits, the team will analyze course syllabi to better understand the topics, learning objectives, and classroom activities in different co-requisite formats.

Products: The project will generate findings relevant to state and institution-level policymakers. Researchers will disseminate findings to a wide range of audiences through research and practitioner conferences and policymaker events, peer-reviewed journals, and practitioner and policymaker media outlets.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This project takes place in the full set of public community colleges and four-year institutions across the state of Texas. As of Fall 2018, there were approximately 1,709,500 students enrolled in higher education in Texas, with a diverse racial/ethnic composition: 38.0% Hispanic, 34.5% White, 13.3% Black, and 14.3% students of other backgrounds. At the same time, 39.7% of first-time-in-college (FTIC) students entering higher education in Texas were not college ready.

Sample: The quantitative analyses will include the population of students enrolled in public two-year colleges and public four-year universities that offer DE on-campus. Analyses will include four cohorts of FTIC students in Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, and Fall 2023.

Intervention/Factors: Texas HB 2223 requires all public colleges to implement co-requisite developmental education for at least three-quarters of their students. To comply with the legislation, institutions have been phasing in co-requisite courses since 2018.  Implementation is now fully to scale with at least 75% of underprepared students in co-requisite DE statewide. Institutions have considerable latitude in how they implement co-requisite courses. One important difference in implementation is class intensity, which can range from 1 to 4 credit hours. Another important difference in implementation across institutions is the structure of the co-requisite course, which can be classified into the following 4 categories: 1) concurrent/paired course model, 2) sequential course within the same semester model, 3) group intervention, or 4) self-paced intervention. While the course models consist of DE in a standard classroom format, the intervention models may include, but are not limited to, tutoring, supplemental instruction, or labs that go beyond learning supports already available to students. The intervention models must address the same statewide learning outcomes as those in the course-based co-requisites, but the content is targeted to address student-specific proficiencies identified through diagnostic assessments, and the number of credit hours may vary based on each student's needs. While most interventions run concurrently with the college-level course, some may provide a majority of assistance before the scheduled college-level course in the same semester along with options for continuing support throughout the semester.

Research Design and Methods: The multi-faceted mixed-methods research design will provide a more complete understanding of the relationship between different co-requisite DE models and student success in college, and whether these impacts vary by students' academic preparation, race/ethnicity, ELL status, or gender. Using an embedded mixed-methods design, researchers will concurrently conduct the qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis processes in parallel fashion, and will integrate their results to fully understand the variation in student outcomes by co-requisite structure and intensity. In the first portion of the quantitative analysis, researchers will conduct a descriptive analysis utilizing institutional-level data collected by the THECB through an annual Developmental Education Program Survey (DEPS) on the different types of co-requisite DE course options offered at colleges and universities across the state. This will be supplemented with a descriptive analysis of administrative records examining the characteristics of students enrolled in each type of corequisite course structure and intensity. Second, researchers will conduct an exploratory regression analysis to gauge the impact of different structures/intensities of co-requisite DE course on student outcomes overall, as well as a moderator analysis exploring heterogeneity among student subgroups. In the qualitative portion of the analysis, researchers will conduct and code a series of interviews with college instructors and students about the benefits and challenges of each co-requisite format. Finally, researchers will conduct a document analysis of course syllabi to better understand the topics, learning objectives, and classroom activities in different co-requisite formats.

Control Condition: The quantitative exploratory analysis will employ a set of comparison conditions that include students in colleges and courses with different approaches to implementing co-requisite remediation.

Key Measures: For the initial descriptive analysis, researchers will use data from the Developmental Education Program Survey (DEPS) administered annually by the THECB. Key measures will include the structure and intensity of co-requisite DE courses. For the student-level analysis, researchers will use Texas Education Research Center (ERC) data, which contains student-level data from all public colleges, including data on the structure and intensity of the DE courses in which students are enrolled. Key measures for this portion of the analysis will include short-term outcomes such as completing developmental courses, passing first college-level courses, completing 15 credit hours by the end of the first term, and completing 30 credit hours by the end of the first year, as well as longer-term measures for passing subsequent math and English courses in Years 2 and 3. Interviews with college instructors and students will inform qualitative measures of perceptions of the benefits and challenges of various co-requisite structures and intensities.

Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will begin by exploring the DEPS data to uncover patterns in the implementation of different co-requisite DE strategies across the state. Then, researchers will use the ERC data to descriptively assess student-level variation in co-requisite course structures and student outcomes across the state. Specifically, researchers will focus on passing rates in co-requisite DE courses, enrollment in gateway courses, and gateway course passing rates computed as both course-based and cohort-based passing rates. To ascertain the relationship between different co-requisite DE structures and intensities with student outcomes, the analyses will make use of a series of first- and second-differenced regression analyses. The first-differenced regression analyses will be aimed at understanding relationships between different corequisite structures and student success, while the second-differenced regression analyses will explore differential relationships between corequisite models and outcomes by student characteristics. Researchers will summarize findings from interviews with math and English department chairs as well as students to generate evidence that contributes to understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each type of co-requisite course, and differences in student experiences in each course among different student subgroups. Also, researchers will conduct a document analysis of course syllabi from co-requisite courses to assess the alignment between the topics and learning objectives in the course syllabi relative to statewide criteria for developmental courses in math and integrated reading and writing.

Related IES Projects: Evaluation of Florida's Developmental Education Redesign (R305A160166).