National Council of Teachers of English Logo
Reports from Policy Analysts

NCES Report on Remedial Coursetaking

Submitted On: Sunday, October 2, 2016

Analyst: Melzer, Dan

A September 2016 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Remedial Coursetaking at U.S. Public 2 and 4-year Institutions: Scope, Experience, and Outcomes, draws on quantitative national data from 2003-2006 to analyze the correlations between student completion of remedial coursework and positive postsecondary outcomes at 2 and 4-year institutions.

The report found that remedial completion was associated with positive secondary outcomes. However, partial remedial completers performed just as well as nonremedial students, and students who had difficulty completing a sequence of remedial courses did not persist in college. Although the report does not draw conclusions from this data, the data supports research in Basic Writing (Fox, Glau, Rose, Soliday) that shows that tracking students into a sequence of non-credit bearing remedial courses can have unintended negative effects on persistence.       

The report argues that more research into barriers caused by remedial courses is needed, and that current studies of remediation have shown mixed results. However, the report fails to cite the extensive research in Basic Writing on the problems with tracking students into non-credit bearing remedial courses and the positive outcomes associated with the many alternative forms of academic support structures for underrepresented students emerging in the field of Basic Writing, such as accelerated learning models, studio models, and stretch courses.

The full report can be found at:


Academic Level

Higher Education



Document and Site Resources

Share This On:

Page Tools:

Join NCTE Today


Copyright © 1998-2017 National Council of Teachers of English. All rights reserved in all media.

1111 W. Kenyon Road, Urbana, Illinois 61801-1096 Phone: 217-328-3870 or 877-369-6283

Looking for information? Browse our FAQs, tour our sitemap and store sitemap, or contact NCTE

Read our Privacy Policy NEW! Statement and Links Policy. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use

Visit us on:
Facebook Twitter Linked In Pinterest Instagram