Remedial Education Redesign:
Eliminating the Exit Points
on the Path to Success

Millions of eager students are falling out of California’s Community Colleges because of a broken remedial education system.

Students placed in remedial courses get caught in a basic skills bottleneck that too often does not let them enter college level classes that will ensure they can reach their college dreams and be prepared for good jobs.


75% of California Community College students are assessed and placed into basic skills courses

Only 1 in 5
students will ever
complete a degree

Where you begin can determine your destiny

Traditional Path

Community College Freshman


College Ready

No Remediation Necessary

College Level Courses


Not College Ready

Traditional Remedial Path

*32,000 students were assessed into 3 levels below college-level math

students fall out
students fall out
students fall out

College Level Courses


93% of students DO NOT make it out of remedial math.

Placement is Destiny

Thanks to policy changes at the California Community Colleges, transfer-level courses have become the default starting point for students as soon as they step onto campus. This puts students on a faster path to graduation, side-stepping the unnecessary barrier of remedial education courses.

Research has shown that ALL students have higher chances of completion when enrolling directly into transfer-level courses.
At colleges that have significantly broadened access to transfer-level courses, the proportion of students completing a transfer-level course within one semester rose 18 percentage points in Math and 30 percentage points in English in 2018.
Among students taking transfer-level courses with corequisite support, completion is double that of students taking remedial English (63% vs. 32%) and almost five times that of students taking remedial math (65% vs. 14%) (PPIC).
Even students with the lowest high school GPAs face better odds when they enroll directly in a transfer-level course rather than a traditional remedial course.

Completion of Transferable English Composition

Source: Analysis by the Multiple Measures Assessment Project, Statewide Data from 2007-2014, Corequisite Data from F2016-2018 (N=4332).

Completion of Transferable STEM math

Source: Analysis by the Multiple Measures Assessment Project, Statewide Data from 2007-2014, Corequisite Data from Pre-Calc & Business Calc F2016-F2018 (N=241).

For more on how the new placement practices are boosting student success at California Community Colleges, read:

Getting There I

A regional progress report on course
placement practices

Getting There II

A statewide progress report on course
placement practices

Redesigned Remedial Path

*A student’s odds of completion are 4.3 times greater than the traditional remedial path

Standardized testing severely under-places one third of students. In fact, research has shown that high school grade point average is the strongest predictor of performance in college level coursework. Using multiple measures of student readiness helps ensure more accurate placement!

Works to reduce or eliminate the time a student spends in remediation by leveraging strategies that 1) place more students directly into college level coursework, 2) institute co-requisite models that enroll underprepared students in transfer- level work with additional support, and 3) align a single semester remedial course with the transfer-level course in the students’ program of study.

Prepares students for college and career by utilizing instructional strategies designed to link basic skills with academic or occupational content – focusing on concrete applications in a specific career context.

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Basic Skills & Student Outcomes
Transformation Program

California made a historic $60 million investment to establish the Basic Skills & Student Outcomes Transformation Program in the 2015-16 Budget Act. Under this program, California Community Colleges have an opportunity to receive financial support, professional development and the technical assistance they need to adopt or scale up, promising practices in the delivery of remedial education instruction.

Bright Spots in Remedial Education

These 64 California Community Colleges received grants under the Basic Skills and Student Outcomes Transformation Program. These strategic investments will help colleges scale or adopt practices that have been proven to substantially increase student success.