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Access the actual report at  http://papers.nber.org/papers/w11325.pdf

Georgine Materniak
Assistant Director and
Pitt Pathway Program Manager
University of Pittsburgh
Career Services
224 William Pitt Union
Pittsburgh, PA  15260
(412) 648-7142
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-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Sanders, Karla
Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2005 9:47 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Remedial Course Research

Here's the text from the Chronicle.  You do need a password to get into
the articles:

Friday, June 17, 2005



Remedial Courses Increase Chances That Underprepared Students Will
Complete Their Degrees, Study Finds By DAVID GLENN


Remedial courses appear to improve poorly prepared college students'
odds of eventually completing a degree, two economists reported in a
working paper distributed last week.

The new study, which draws on data for more than 28,000 students who
entered public colleges and universities in Ohio in 1998, arrives at a
time when some state governments and university systems are debating the
cost-effectiveness of remedial programs. The Nevada Board of Regents,
for example, recently adopted a plan that will eliminate state subsidies
for remedial courses. Without the subsidies, students will have to pay
the full cost of such courses.

Scholars have generally found it difficult to estimate the effectiveness
of remedial courses. Few colleges rigorously evaluate their own
programs. Earlier studies have often found that students who take
remedial courses have worse grades and higher dropout rates than their
peers. But that in itself is no surprise, since remedial students
generally have weaker skills and high-school preparation than the
typical college student.

The challenge for researchers has been to find a valid apples-to-apples
comparison that can assess the experiences of students with roughly
equivalent skills and preparation. In other words: If Douglas and
Elizabeth enter college with identical C- high-school grades and
identical achievement-test scores, and Douglas begins college with
remedial courses in English and mathematics, is he likely to be better
off than Elizabeth in the long run?

The authors of the new paper -- Eric P. Bettinger, an assistant
professor of economics at Case Western Reserve University, and Bridget
Terry Long, an associate professor of education and economics at Harvard
University -- believe that they have solved the puzzle.

Their new study takes advantage of the fact that Ohio's public colleges
and universities have considerable discretion in setting their
remediation policies. Some institutions, for example, require students
who score worse than 580 on the verbal portion of the SAT to take
remedial writing courses. But other Ohio colleges use lower SAT-score
cutoffs -- in some cases, as low as 410. There is also similar variation
in the colleges' standards for high-school grade-point averages.

So a student in one corner of Ohio with a 2.1 high-school GPA and a
verbal SAT score of 520 might (hypothetically) enter a Dayton-area
community college and be required to take remedial courses in writing
and mathematics. Meanwhile, in Youngstown, a student with an identical
high-school record might enter the local community college and face no
such requirement. With a large enough number of such pairs, it becomes
possible to generalize about the effects of remedial courses.

The Ohio Board of Regents provided Mr. Bettinger and Ms. Long with data
on 28,376 students who entered public colleges in Ohio in 1998 (with
appropriate steps taken to prevent any student from being identified by
name). The two economists then developed a statistical model that
assesses the progress of the students through the spring-2003 semester.

The researchers were especially interested in a subgroup --
approximately 15,000 students -- whose high-school grades and test
scores were low enough that they would have been required to take
remedial courses at some Ohio colleges, but not so low that they would
have been required to take remedial courses at all 25 institutions
included in the study.

Among the students in that group, the researchers found that those who
took remedial courses in mathematics were 9.6 percent less likely to
drop out of college within five years than were students with similar
high-school preparation who did not take such courses.

Students who took remedial courses in English, the researchers found,
were 17.3 percent more likely to complete a bachelor's degree within
four years than were students with similar high-school preparation who
did not take such courses.

The students who took remedial courses in English were also 18.9 percent
less likely to transfer to a less-selective college than students in the
comparison group.

The authors note that their study has at least one important limitation.
Because of its methodology, the study reveals nothing about the
experiences of students whose high-school grades and test scores were so
low that all 25 public Ohio colleges would have required them to take
remedial courses.

Mr. Bettinger and Ms. Long's study has been presented at several
seminars, but has not yet completed a formal peer review. It was partly
financed by a grant from the Lumina Foundation. An abstract is available
on the Web site of the National Bureau of Economic Research. The full
paper may be purchased for $5 on the same site.


* * *
In a related study, the U.S. Education Department's National Center for
Education Statistics released a report on Thursday about the differing
outcomes between students who enroll in college right out of high school
and those who delay their enrollment, for economic or other reasons.

According to the report, "Waiting to Attend College: Undergraduates Who
Delay Their Postsecondary Enrollment," students who delay beginning
their postsecondary education are at a "significant disadvantage"
relative to those who go straight to college from high school, in terms
of how well prepared they are, how much they have to work to finance
their education, and so on.

Delayed matriculators also tend to be outperformed by their peers who do
not delay: 40 percent of delayed entrants earn some kind of
postsecondary credential, compared with 58 percent of immediate
entrants.


*********************************************************************
Karla Sanders, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Academic Support & Achievement Eastern Illinois
University 600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL  61920
[log in to unmask]
tel:  217-581-6056
fax:  217-581-7100
www.eiu.edu/~casa2000; www.eiu.edu/~assess

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Susan Anker
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2005 7:42 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Remedial Course Research

Hi,

For the Chronicle article, did you type in
http://chronicle.com/daily/2005/06/2005061702n.htm  (the URL from David
Arendt's email)? When I did that, it asked for a password. What other
link did you use? Thanks very much.


> From: Winnie Cooke <[log in to unmask]>
> Reply-To: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
> <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 15:27:05 -0400
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Remedial Course Research
>
>

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