The Effects of Postsecondary Remediation on Student Achievement and Employment Outcomes: Evidence from Florida and Texas

Nationwide, about 30 percent of entering freshmen take some remedial or developmental courses. Public colleges alone spend 1 billion dollars a year on remediation, yet we know relatively little about the effect of remediation on student outcomes. This project evaluates the effects of remediation on student outcomes using data from the states of Texas and Florida.

Our research compares students whose college placement exam scores were just above, or just below, the threshold determining whether or not remediation was required. Because students with very similar test scores will tend to be alike along other dimensions, any difference we observe in their success in college can be attributed to participation in remediation, rather than some confounding factor.

Douglas Harris’s role in this project involves obtaining the necessary data from the State of Florida, researching the design of the state remediation policy and changes in the policy during the study period, collaborating in the design of the analysis, presenting results at conferences, and contributing to the writing of the results.


Completed on June 30, 2009