Cover: Help or Hindrance?

Help or Hindrance?

The Effects of College Remediation on Academic and Labor Market Outcomes

Published in: The Review of Economics and Statistics, v. 93, no. 2, May 2011, p. 436-454

Posted on May 1, 2011

by Paco Martorell, Isaac McFarlin

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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