Developmental education courses in college--defined as classes taken in college that are below college level (Bautsch, 2013)--have come under increased scrutiny in recent years. Concerns focus on the large number of students enrolled in developmental education courses, the high cost of providing them, and the low success rates among students who enroll in them. These issues are not unique to Florida; state legislatures across the country struggle in promoting student attainment of education credentials through developmental education (Parker, Barrett, & Bustillos, 2014). Before 2014, Florida students entering a Florida College System institution were required to take placement exams and, if they did not score high enough, to take developmental education courses. Under Senate Bill 1720 of 2013, which was implemented in the fall of 2014, students who entered grade 9 in a Florida public school in the 2003/04 school year or later and earned a Florida standard high school diploma and students who are serving as an active duty member of any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces cannot be required to take a placement test and cannot be required to enroll in developmental education courses. This report describes changes in student enrollment and passing rates in developmental education and gateway courses (introductory math and English courses that are required as prerequisites for other college-level courses) in fall 2014, when developmental education became optional for recent high school graduates and active duty members of the military entering college for the first time. It summarizes patterns in enrollment and course passing rates by subject and student demographic characteristic in the 2011-14 fall semesters, with a focus on fall 2013 and fall 2014, the two fall semesters immediately before and after the legislation was implemented. The key findings from this descriptive study include: (1) In fall 2014 a smaller percentage of students enrolled in developmental education courses, particularly in math, than in previous years; (2) From fall 2013 to fall 2014 passing rates in developmental education courses increased an average of 2 percentage points in math, reading, and writing; (3) Enrollment in gateway courses increased in fall 2014. Passing rates in gateway courses were relatively stable between fall 2011 and fall 2013 but declined in fall 2014, with the largest decline occurring in intermediate algebra; and (4) The proportion of students entering college for the first time who passed English and math gateway courses increased in fall 2014 compared with previous years. The following are appended: (1) Data and methodology; and (2) Additional results.
ERIC DescriptorsAchievement Gains, Achievement Rating, Age Differences, Cohort Analysis, College Freshmen, College Programs, Demography, Developmental Programs, Educational Change, Educational Legislation, Educational Policy, English, Enrollment Rate, Enrollment Trends, Ethnicity, Failure, Gender Differences, Investigations, Mathematics Achievement, Postsecondary Education, Racial Differences, School Statistics, State Policy, Statistical Analysis, Statistical Data, Student Characteristics, Success
Southeast | Publication Type: Descriptive Study | Publication
Date: January 2016