NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Impact of Postsecondary Remediation Using a Regression Discontinuity Approach: Addressing Endogenous Sorting and Noncompliance

Juan Carlos Calcagno, Bridget Terry Long

NBER Working Paper No. 14194
Issued in July 2008
NBER Program(s):   ED

Remedial or developmental courses are the most common instruments used to assist postsecondary students who are not ready for college-level coursework. However, despite its important role in higher education and substantial costs, there is little rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of college remediation on the outcomes of students. This study uses a detailed dataset to identify the causal effect of remediation on the outcomes of nearly 100,000 college students in Florida. Using a Regression Discontinuity design, we provide causal estimates while also investigating possible endogenous sorting around the policy cutoff. The results suggest math and reading remedial courses have mixed benefits. Being assigned to remediation appears to increase persistence to the second year and the total number of credits completed for students on the margin of passing out of the requirement, but it does not increase the completion of college-level credits or eventual degree completion. Taken together, the results suggest that remediation might promote early persistence in college, but it does not necessarily help students on the margin of passing the placement cutoff make long-term progress toward earning a degree.

download in pdf format
   (480 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (480 K) or via email.

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14194

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Bettinger and Long w11325 Addressing the Needs of Under-Prepared Students in Higher Education: Does College Remediation Work?
Bettinger and Long w10369 Shape Up or Ship Out: The Effects of Remediation on Students at Four-Year Colleges
Lee and Lemieux w14723 Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics
Scott-Clayton and Rodriguez w18328 Development, Discouragement, or Diversion? New Evidence on the Effects of College Remediation
Imbens and Lemieux t0337 Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us