Developmental Education Placement

Placement in developmental courses: Texas

Among first-time Texas community college students, percent of students who required developmental education, by subject

What Is Measured?

The percentage of students who required developmental education in math, reading, or writing, by subject

Who Is Counted?

First-time students at Texas community colleges entering during the fall in the years 2003 to 2012

What It Tells Us

Some 55 percent of students who entered Texas Community Colleges in fall 2012 needed developmental education in one or more subjects, including 45 percent referred to developmental math, 29 percent referred to developmental reading, and 29 percent referred to developmental writing. The percentage of students referred to developmental education in any subject has gradually declined in the ten year period starting fall 2003. The percentages of students who need developmental education in math or reading have remained stable over the same period, and the percentage of students who need developmental education in writing has increased.

Why It's Important

Assessment for college readiness to determine the appropriate placement in a subject is particularly important for community colleges. Such assessment is needed because their open-access admissions policies and outreach to nontraditional students mean that a much larger proportion of their students take developmental education courses than do students in other sectors of higher education. For students needing developmental education, enrolling in the developmental course mandated by the placement test is the first step toward completion. Most institutions select from a handful of standardized assessments to place students in developmental education, but tremendous variation still exists across and within states and even institutions on which tests and cutoff scores are used.

About the Data

Percentages were calculated from student counts reported in the Texas Higher Education Data website’s Developmental Education Accountability Measures Data.

Students whose status was “unknown” were subtracted from the total number of first-time students in the denominator. Overall, the “unknown” category includes students who are unknown in all subjects and those who are unknown in some subjects and college-ready in others. For each subject, “unknown” includes students with waivers or military exemptions who have not been reported as college-ready (as assessed by the Texas Success Initiative) on a performance measure for that subject.

Data Source

Report by 2-Year Institution, Community Colleges Statewide Totals. Developmental Education Accountability Measures Data from Texas Higher Education Data website.