Providing remedial (also known as developmental) education is the primary way colleges cope with students who do not have the academic preparation needed to succeed in college-level courses. Remediation is widespread, with nearly one-third of entering freshmen taking remedial courses at an annual cost of at least $1 billion. Despite its prevalence, there is uncertainty surrounding its short- and longer-run effects. This paper presents new evidence on this question using longitudinal administrative data from Texas and a regression discontinuity research design. We find little indication that remediation improves academic or labor market outcomes.
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© 2011 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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