Developmental/remedial courses

Students enrolled in developmental (remedial) college courses

Definition: Percent of all first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students who graduated from a Massachusetts public high school the previous year and who enrolled in at least one developmental (remedial) course at a Massachusetts public institution of higher education (a community college, state university, or University of Massachusetts). Developmental—often referred to as remedial—courses are designed to prepare students for college-level work and do not count toward a degree. Students typically enroll in these courses based on placement exam performance.

This indicator is included in the Progress & Attainment section of the Condition of Education in the Commonwealth Data Report. A substantial number of high school graduates remain unprepared for college coursework and place into developmental (remedial) courses at college entry. Ensuring completion of academic programs at two- and four-year institutions, while providing students with marketable skills—especially in the STEM and health fields—is important to sustaining our economic productivity.

Source: Massachusetts Department of Higher Education: data provided by staff.

Note: In fall 2014, DHE launched a pilot math assessment project aimed at reducing developmental/remedial course-taking. Colleges had the option to place students into developmental/remedial or college level math courses based on a high school GPA standard instead of an Accuplacer math score. In this pilot, more students were assessed as college math ready and enrolled directly in college level math classes in fall 2014 and fall 2015 than in prior years when only Accuplacer was considered. This should be considered when assessing trends on this metric.

Low socioeconomic status: For the purposes of this report, low socioeconomic status is used as an umbrella term for such designations as: subsidy eligibility, low income, economically disadvantaged, and Pell grant recipients as defined by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, or Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education identifies students who are receiving Pell grants. The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain postbaccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education.

Source: Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

Note: It is important for users of this data to understand that enrollment percentages and achievement data for "Pell grant recipients " students cannot be directly compared to other low income designations.

*While comparing indicators, please keep in mind that different data sources use different definitions of student subgroups.