Research in Higher Education

, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 420–450

Does Mathematics Remediation Work?: A Comparative Analysis of Academic Attainment among Community College Students


DOI: 10.1007/s11162-008-9089-4

Cite this article as:
Bahr, P.R. Res High Educ (2008) 49: 420. doi:10.1007/s11162-008-9089-4


Postsecondary remediation is a controversial topic. On one hand, it fills an important and sizeable niche in higher education. On the other hand, critics argue that it wastes tax dollars, diminishes academic standards, and demoralizes faculty. Yet, despite the ongoing debate, few comprehensive, large-scale, multi-institutional evaluations of remedial programs have been published in recent memory. The study presented here constitutes a step forward in rectifying this deficit in the literature, with particular attention to testing the efficacy of remedial math programs. In this study, I use hierarchical multinomial logistic regression to analyze data that address a population of 85,894 freshmen, enrolled in 107 community colleges, for the purpose of comparing the long-term academic outcomes of students who remediate successfully (achieve college-level math skill) with those of students who achieve college-level math skill without remedial assistance. I find that these two groups of students experience comparable outcomes, which indicates that remedial math programs are highly effective at resolving skill deficiencies.


Remediation Remedial education Developmental education Basic skills Mathematics Community college Transfer Attainment Achievement Degree Certificate 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA

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