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.
Peter Riley Bahr has written an article that was published in the August issue of Research in Higher Education. The article is entitled: Does Mathematics Remediation Work?: A Comparative Analysis of Academic Attainment among Community College Students. Here is the abstract: