Community colleges disproportionately serve Black and Latinx students, but most students who enter community college do not finish. The main reason for low completion rates is that students deemed underprepared for college-level courses are often placed in prerequisite, non-credit bearing developmental education courses that they are unable to pass – a path that also disproportionately affects Black and Latinx students. Xu and colleagues will examine the effectiveness of Kentucky’s new corequisite approach to developmental education for addressing this inequality. Implemented statewide in 2019, this policy allows students to enroll in credit-bearing, college-level coursework combined with developmental support. The team will use regression discontinuity design to compare: 1) the effects of this corequisite approach to a hybrid strategy that combined corequisites and prerequisites for students with very low test scores and/or GPAs and 2) the effects of the corequisite approach compared to no developmental education requirement. They will also conduct exploratory analyses to examine the extent to which high school GPA can more accurately identify students who need support. Findings may inform post-secondary institutions about whether the corequisite approach improves student skills and knowledge, particularly for students who are far below college-readiness thresholds, and how to accurately identify students who need help.
Can a hybrid approach to developmental education in Kentucky community colleges improve completion rates for Black and Latinx students?