Researchers at Florida State University’s Center for Postsecondary Success (CPS) have released three comprehensive reports assessing the implementation and outcomes of Florida’s recent developmental education reform efforts.
According to a press release from the Center for Postsecondary Success, the research evaluates changes made to developmental education under a state law passed in 2013 (Senate Bill 1720). The policy changes from two years ago mandated that Florida’s 28 state colleges, provide developmental education that is more tailored to the needs of students.
The research, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, offers an important record of how Florida colleges have responded to the changes mandated by Senate Bill 1720. Because of the sweeping nature of the reforms, including making developmental education courses and placement testing optional for most students, the policy changes have garnered significant attention from policy makers, higher education leaders and media outlets across the nation.
The three reports from the Center for Postsecondary Success feature information gathered during site visits, surveys, and interviews with administrators, faculty, support staff and students:
- Diving into the Deep End: How State College Administrators in Florida Describe the First Year of Developmental Education Reform examines how administrators assess the initial impacts of SB 1720 at their colleges. Among the report’s key findings, instead of relying on college placement tests, colleges are using other advising tools, techniques and predictive models (using student variables like high school grades) to advise students on their developmental education options.
- How Students Make Course Enrollment Decisions in an Era of Increased Choice: Results from a Survey of Enrollment Patterns and Choice Factors surveys first-time-in-college students at two Florida College System institutions. Among the report’s key findings, many students bypass developmental education courses when they’re made optional, particularly in reading and writing.
- Learning from the Ground Up: Developmental Education Reform at Florida College System Institutions describes findings from site visits to 10 colleges including nearly 90 interviews with administrators, faculty, students, advisers and support staff members. Among the report’s key findings, many campus personnel and students questioned expressed concern that different student populations have been affected by the legislative changes in a variety of ways, many of which were unforeseen.
For recent media coverage on Florida’s developmental education reform efforts, read reports from the Sun Sentinel, Tallahassee Democrat, Pensacola News Journal and Inside Higher Ed.
Read the reports from the Center for Postsecondary Success in their entirety here.