Dear Friends,

Recently there were some postings about the USDOE report on developmental
education.  In preparing for the recent NADE Executive Board meeting I
developed the following summary of the document.  While a bit long, I
thought it might be useful to share it with our friends who do not have WWW
access.  I found some surprises in the data.  -- David Arendale

Remedial Education at Higher Education Institutions in Fall 1995,
Statistical Analysis Report NCES 97-584
National Center for Education Statistics, Office of Educational Research and
Improvement, U.S. Department of Education
Published October 1996

For purposes of this study, remedial education courses were defined as
courses in reading, writing, or mathematics for college students lacking
those skills necessary to perform college-level work at the level required
by the institution.  Study skill courses or remedial courses in other
academic disciplines (e.g, science) were not included in this study.

1.  About three-quarters of higher education institutions that enrolled
freshmen offered at least one remedial reading, writing, or mathematics
course in Fall 1995.  All public two-year institutions and 81 percent of
public four-year institutions offered remedial courses.  The percent drops
to 63 percent of private two-year and private four-year institutions.  The
lower the mean SES of student body and the more open the admissions
standards of the institution, the higher the percent of institutions of a
specific type offering remedial courses.
2.  Twenty-nine percent of first-time freshmen enrolled in at least one
remedial reading, writing, or mathematics course in Fall 1995.  Of the
2,128,000 first-time freshmen, 445,220 freshmen enroll in one or more
developmental courses.  This does NOT include: (a) sophomores, juniors,
seniors or graduate students who enroll in remedial courses; (b) students
who participate in non-credit academic enrichment activities such as
tutoring, Supplemental Instruction, learning strategy workshops, or similar
activities; (c) students of any classification who enroll in remedial
courses in science and other content areas not covered by the survey; and
(d) students of any classification who enroll in study strategy courses.
3.  Twenty-five percent of institutions offering remedial reading, writing,
or mathematics also offered remedial courses in other subjects (e.g.,
science [general science, biology, chemistry, and physics], English as a
second language, and study skills.).
4.  All ESL courses were considered remedial at 38 percent of institutions,
and an additional 38 percent of institutions considered none of their ESL
courses to be remedial.
5.  In general, about three-quarters of the students enrolled in remedial
courses pass or successfully complete those courses.
6.  About half of institutions offering remedial courses indicated that the
number of students enrolled in remedial courses at their institution had
stayed about the same in the last five years, 39 percent said enrollments
had increased, and 14 percent said they had decreased.
7.  Two-thirds of institutions indicated that the average time a student
takes remedial courses was less than one year, and 28 percent indicated that
the average time was one year.
8.  Full-time entering Freshmen who enrolled in remedial courses continued
at their institution to the start of their second year at a somewhat lower
rate than all full-time entering freshmen at institutions offering remedial
9.  Among the 22 percent of institutions that did not offer remedial courses
in Fall 1995, about a quarter indicated that students take remedial courses
at another institution.
10.  About three-quarters of institutions offer only institutional credit
for remedial courses.  Approximately 15 percent offer degree credit.
11.  About three-quarters of institutions require students to enroll in
remedial courses based on entry level testing.  About sixty percent of
institutions offer entry level testing of all entering students.
12.  About two-thirds of institutions placed some restrictions on the
regular academic courses that students could take while they were enrolled
in remedial courses.  Only two percent prohibited enrollment in regular
college courses concurrent with remedial courses.
13.  A traditional academic department was the most frequent provider of
remedial courses (approximately 55 to 70 percent depending upon the remedial
course), with a separate remedial division the second most frequent
provider.  Learning centers were less frequently used, with 7 to 12 percent
providing remedial courses.
14.  Remedial education services/courses were provided to local business and
industry by half of public two-year institutions, compared with only about
five percent of other types of institutions.  Of the institutions that
provided services to local business and industry: 87 percent offered
remedial reading, 93 percent offered remedial writing, 94 percent offered
remedial mathematics, 18 percent offered help in English as a second
language and basic computer skills.  Most of the institutions offered their
services at the business site (89 percent) and also on the campus of the
institution (74 percent).
15.  About a quarter of institutions reported that there was a limit on the
length of time a student may take remedial courses at their institution.
These time limits were set by the institution 75 percent of the time and by
state policy or law at 21 percent of the institutions.
16.  A third of institutions offering remedial courses reported that there
were state policies or laws that affected the remedial education offerings
of their institutions.  The major impact of these laws were to require or
encourage institutions to offer remedial education.  About twice as many
public two-year as public four-year institutions were required to offer
remedial courses, while more public four-year than public two-year
institutions were discouraged from offering remedial education.
17.  In comparing trends in remedial courses since 1983 and 1995, there were
no significant changes in the percentage of institutions offering such
courses.  The percentage of institutions offering remedial reading courses
showed a significant decrease from 1983 to 1995.
This complete report is available for downloading from the NCES Web Site.
The address is It has been placed into the
Portable Document Format (PDF) that is readable by Adobe Acrobat Reader
Software.  This reader is available for free downloading from Adobe
Software.  Their address is

-- David

David R. Arendale, President of NADE & Associate Director of CAD
University of Missouri-Kansas City, Center for Academic Development
5014 Rockhill Road, SASS #210, Kansas City, MO 64110-2499  USA
Internet:  [log in to unmask]   Voice (Work):  816-235-1197
Fax (Work):  816-235-5156   Voice (Home):  913-789-8314
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