A primary goal of the U.S. Department of Education’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Blueprint for Reform is to improve the college readiness of high school graduates. College readiness is a complex benchmark and has been measured in several ways, including transcript analysis and standardized test scores. One such measure, and the focus of this Statistics in Brief, is remedial coursework enrollment.
Consistent with earlier National Center for Education Statistics publications, this brief defines remedial courses as courses for students lacking skills necessary to perform college-level work at the degree of rigor required by the institution. At the start of their college careers, students who are not sufficiently prepared to complete entry-level courses are often encouraged or required to take developmental or remedial courses. Results from previous surveys conducted by the NCES that collected data on the percentage of students enrolled in remedial coursework found that 28 percent of first-year students who entered 2- or 4-year degree-granting postsecondary institutions were enrolled in remedial courses in both 1995 and 2000.