Examining the Impacts of Florida’s Developmental Education Reform for Non-Exempt Students: The Case of First-Year English and Math Course Enrollment and Success

Kai ZHAO, Toby J. PARK-GAGHAN, Christine G. MOKHE, Shouping HU

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: In 2014, Florida implemented Senate Bill 1720 (SB 1720), which drastically reshaped developmental education practices across the 28 public state colleges. Under the reform, around two-thirds of students became exempt from developmental education. Yet, many students were still required to take the placement test. If they scored below college-ready, they were assigned to developmental education courses using new accelerated strategies. This study focuses on the policy effects on these non-exempt students that received little attention in existing research but also were affected by the reform.

Methods: Drawing on student-level data from two first-time-in-college cohorts who were enrolled in state colleges prior to SB 1720 and two cohorts who were enrolled after, this study uses multinomial logit models to predict non-exempt students’ first-year math and English outcomes.

Results: We find that non-exempt students benefit from the policy, with significantly higher percentages of students enrolling in and completing college-level and advanced English and math courses after the reform. In addition, non-exempt English students with the lowest level of college readiness experienced the greatest gains post-reform in the completion rates in college-level and advanced English courses. While in math, non-exempt students who scored college-ready experienced the greatest increases post-reform in completion rates in college-level and advanced math courses.

Conclusion: Although non-exempt students are not directly affected by the placement policy changes under SB 1720, they still benefit from the reform because of the new instructional strategies and enhanced academic advising and support services.
Original languageEnglish
Article number009155212110614
Pages (from-to)171-192
Number of pages22
JournalCommunity College Review
Volume50
Issue number2
Early online date26 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A160166 to Florida State University, and in part by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education, or the Gates Foundation.

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A160166 to Florida State University, and in part by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education, or the Gates Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.

Keywords

  • developmental education
  • non-exempt
  • community colleges
  • state policy

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