The Community College and Remedial/Developmental Education

Recently the Gates Foundation announced a gift of over $100 million to support community colleges in identifying best practices to improve remedial and developmental-level courses and other services to support higher student achievement and graduation rates. The following interview forecast many of these recommendations by Robert McCabe a decade ago. Revisiting McCabe and reading his book provides best practices and case studies of success with increasing student success.

Callan, P. M. (2000, Fall). An interview: Robert McCabe. National Crosstalk, Retrieved July 4, 2004, from:

Robert McCabe, senior fellow with the League for Innovation in the Community College and former president of Miami-Dade Community College is the focus of this interview. Much of the interview revolves around McCabe's newest book, No One to Waste, a national study of community college remedial programs. McCabe employs a variety of arguments for the support and expansion of remedial education.

ERIC Database, ED448813, Title: No One To Waste: A Report to Public Decision-Makers and Community College Leaders. Authors: McCabe, Robert H. Abstract: Twenty-five community colleges participated in a study that tracked 71 percent of 592 students who successfully enrolled in a remedial program in 1990. Follow-up interviews of program completers gathered information about further education, employment, family, and facts about post-remedial life. A criminal justice search was also conducted on the entire study cohort. These data were the basis for this first comprehensive national study on community college remedial education students. The study found that most successfully remediated students perform well in standard college work, gravitate to occupational programs or direct employment, and become productively employed. While a majority of the remedial students were white non-Hispanic, ethnic minorities were overrepresented in the cohort and even more so in a seriously deficient student sub-cohort, confirming that remedial education is a significant issue for ethnic minorities. While community college remedial programs are cost effective, most colleges fail to use the substantial research concerning successful remedial education, and do not fund programs at a level necessary for successful results. Recommendations include: (1) giving remedial education higher priority and greater institutional and legislative support; (2) requiring assessment and placement of all entering students; and (3) developing a national guide to assist colleges in developing effective remedial education programs. (Contains 15 figures and tables, 45 references and 63 pages.)/p>