Percentage of Virginia Community College students who enrolled in different levels of developmental writing within four years
First-time Virginia Community College students enrolled in the summer or fall 2004 terms who enrolled in developmental writing
About one-half (53 percent) of incoming Virginia Community College students who enrolled in developmental writing courses took a developmental writing course two levels below the college level, while 33 percent enrolled in a course one level below the college level and 14 percent enrolled in courses both one and two levels below college level.
For students in need of developmental education, enrolling in a specific course mandated by the placement test is the first step toward advancement to a college-level program. Many students never enroll in developmental courses at the level at which they are assessed, however. Because placements are not always binding, many students enroll in higher- or lower-level courses. Some may skip courses in the remedial sequence or skip developmental education altogether. As a result, the rates at which students enroll in developmental courses provide an incomplete picture of the need for remediation. Placement information, however, is rarely available, leaving enrollment rates as the only measure for gauging students' college readiness.
Jenkins, D., Jaggars, S., Roksa, J., Zeidenberg, M., & Sung-Woo, C. (2009, November). Strategies for promoting gatekeeper course success among students needing remediation: Research report for the Virginia Community College System (full-length technical report). New York: Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University.