Hitting their Stride 2020: Developmental Education Reform Current State

by: Gates Bryant, Salil Kelkar, and Lindsay Whitman | Papers |Jul 14th, 2020

The 2020 Hitting Their Stride (HTS) survey reveals growing adoption and awareness of proven developmental reforms as well as many faculty and administrators describing changes underway on campus. However, despite these positive reports, the perceived levels of change and implementation do not always align with on-the-ground reality. To get past the critical tipping point from early implementation to more widespread, high-quality adoption, the reform movement must identify the barriers to and enablers of early implementation success, and find ways to widely share and replicate these learnings across states, systems, and institutions.

To support this effort, we identified three distinct segments of responses that represent different levels of institutional progress on the journey to achieving scale with developmental education reforms: Emerging, Advancing, and Scaling. These segments report different perceptions of the adoption of acceleration practices as well as of the drivers, barriers, success factors, and enablers that support change. By identifying these differences, we see three themes that drive implementation success:

  • Don’t just add new reforms, eliminate the old. Address perception challenges around removing or eliminating multi-semester developmental education course sequences
  • Align leadership involvement and investment. Build faculty and administrator alignment, ownership, and engagement in the reform process to ensure that faculty in particular have a voice
  • Faculty are the face of the reform, and they need support to undertake the change. Provide on-campus access to meaningful professional development (PD) that is backed by research and contextualized to the faculty’s experiences at their institutions

Hitting Their Stride: Shifting the Developmental Education Reform Movement From Policy To Practice, 2020 is the second iteration of an annual study done in collaboration with the Strong Start to Finish Network thanks to funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The goal of these annual studies is to uncover how the adoption of new policies and practices has reduced the amount of time students have spent in developmental education courses. In this iteration of Hitting Their Stride, over 2,700 developmental education focused administrators and faculty were surveyed.

To review 2019’s Hitting Their Stride: The Next Chapter of Developmental Education Reform, please click here.

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