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Community College Research Center, Columbia University

Over the past several years, the Community College Research Center (CCRC) has conducted several research studies on developmental education and has produced reviews synthesizing the results of the authors' own work together with that of colleagues from other research organizations. In a recent issue of the "Journal of Developmental Education," Alexandros Goudas and Hunter Boylan (2012) aimed several criticisms at this body of work, with the key claims being that: (1) the authors unfairly portray developmental education as ineffective because it does not lead to outcomes "better" than those of college-ready students; (2) they ignore several studies showing positive results; and (3) they overgeneralize from results that are only valid for students near the developmental cut-off scores. These three claims are woven into a broader critique that the authors have "cherry-picked" negative results, neglected methodological problems with the studies yielding such results, and ignored positive results in order to advance our own reform agenda and, in particular, to support the notion of co-requisite developmental education. In this essay, the authors address each of the claims advanced by Goudas and Boylan (2012). They disagree with their portrayal of their research as biased and flawed, yet they also believe that their comments may reflect some widespread confusion in the field about research on developmental education--so their response has significance beyond their particular disagreements with these authors. The authors hope the reader will have patience with this exercise; for those short on time, they provide a brief summary and conclusion at the end of this essay. (Contains 1 figure and 13 footnotes.)

Descriptors: Remedial Instruction, Community Colleges, Two Year College Students, Outcomes of Education, Academic Achievement, Educational Research, Research Methodology, Regression (Statistics)

Community College Research Center. Available from: CCRC Publications. Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street Box 174, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3091; Fax: 212-678-3699; e-mail: ccrc[at]; Web site:

Autor: Bailey, Thomas; Jaggars, Shanna Smith; Scott-Clayton, Judith


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