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Help or Hindrance? The Effects of College Remediation on Academic and Labor Market Outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • Paco Martorell

    (RAND)

  • Isaac McFarlin

    (University of Michigan and University of Texas at Dallas)

Abstract

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. © 2011 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Paco Martorell & Isaac McFarlin, 2011. "Help or Hindrance? The Effects of College Remediation on Academic and Labor Market Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 436-454, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:93:y:2011:i:2:p:436-454
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Pugatch, Todd & Wilson, Nicholas, 2018. "Nudging study habits: A field experiment on peer tutoring in higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 151-161.
    2. Kalena E. Cortes & Joshua S. Goodman & Takako Nomi, 2015. "Intensive Math Instruction and Educational Attainment: Long-Run Impacts of Double-Dose Algebra," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(1), pages 108-158.
    3. Christopher Jepsen & Peter Mueser & Kenneth Troske, 2016. "Labor Market Returns to the GED Using Regression Discontinuity Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(3), pages 621-649.
    4. Page, Lindsay C. & Scott-Clayton, Judith, 2016. "Improving college access in the United States: Barriers and policy responses," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 4-22.
    5. William N. Evans & Melissa S. Kearney & Brendan C. Perry & James X. Sullivan, 2017. "Increasing Community College Completion Rates among Low-Income Students: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluation of a Case Management Intervention," NBER Working Papers 24150, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. DesJardins, Stephen L. & McCall, Brian P., 2014. "The impact of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program on college and post-college related choices of high ability, low-income minority students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 124-138.
    7. Tatiana Melguizo & Johannes M. Bos & Federick Ngo & Nicholas Mills & George Prather, 2016. "Using a Regression Discontinuity Design to Estimate the Impact of Placement Decisions in Developmental Math," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 57(2), pages 123-151, March.
    8. Judith Scott-Clayton & Olga Rodriguez, 2014. "Development, Discouragement, or Diversion? New Evidence on the Effects of College Remediation Policy," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 10(1), pages 4-45, November.
    9. De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2015. "Procrastination, academic success and the effectiveness of a remedial program," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 217-236.
    10. Joshua Goodman, 2017. "The Labor of Division: Returns to Compulsory High School Math Coursework," Working Paper 95966, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    11. Lindsay C. Page & Judith Scott-Clayton, 2015. "Improving College Access in the United States: Barriers and Policy Responses," NBER Working Papers 21781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Judith Scott-Clayton & Peter M. Crosta & Clive R. Belfield, 2012. "Improving the Targeting of Treatment: Evidence from College Remediation," NBER Working Papers 18457, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. repec:hrv:hksfac:34298862 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:eee:ecolet:v:158:y:2017:i:c:p:84-87 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Paco Martorell & Isaac McFarlin, Jr. & Yu Xue, 2014. "Does Failing a Placement Exam Discourage Underprepared Students from Going to College?," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 10(1), pages 46-80, November.
    16. Daniel M. Leeds & Isaac McFarlin & Lindsay Daugherty, 2017. "Does Student Effort Respond to Incentives? Evidence from a Guaranteed College Admissions Program," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 58(3), pages 231-243, May.

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