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Developmental Education: What Policies and Practices Work for Students?

Weak academic preparation impedes achievement in higher education for millions of young people. Colleges address this problem by providing developmental education programs designed to strengthen students’ skills so they can successfully complete college-level courses. Too often these programs are not very effective in helping students overcome weaknesses. At the same time, increasing numbers of colleges and states are experimenting with innovations to help more underprepared students succeed.

NCPR’s national conference on developmental education, on September 23rd and 24th, 2010, presented the latest high-quality research on developmental education, providing a solid basis for future practice, policy, and continued study.


NEW: NCPR's Follow-Up Webinar was Held on December 15, 2010

NCPR hosted a web conference that created an opportunity for participants and others to continue discussion that arose at the conference. » More Information » View Recording » Download PDF


OVERVIEW of the September 2010 Developmental Education Conference:

Four panel sessions focused on (1) findings on the effectiveness of developmental education, (2) assessment and placement practices, (3) alternative models (summer bridges, learning communities, I-BEST, supplemental instruction), and (4) pedagogy and classroom strategies. Following each panel, conference attendees attended break-out sessions led by key practitioners and researchers.

NCPR director Thomas Bailey hosted the conference. Presenters included Bridget Terry Long, David Conley, Norton Grubb, and other national experts, as well as researchers from NCPR partner institutions—the Community College Research Center, MDRC, and the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Martha Kanter, U.S. Under Secretary of Education, served as the conference’s keynote speaker. An address by featured speaker John Easton, Director of the Institute of Education Sciences, preceded the conference’s closing session.

kanter   easton   bailey
Above: Martha Kanter, John Easton, and Thomas Bailey

This conference is made possible through funding from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), U.S. Department of Education.