Texas legislators this year sent a clear message to public postsecondary institutions--fix remediation. And certain terms--evidence-based, best practice, modular, online--surfaced again and again in enacted 2011 legislation in the Lone Star State.
H.B. 1244, for example, requires institutions of higher education to offer a range of developmental coursework, including online coursework, or instructional support that integrates technology, to effectively address students' particular developmental needs. H.B. 1244 also requires developmental education to be based on research-based best practices (hooray!) that include assessment, differentiated placement and instruction, faculty development, support services, program evaluation, integration of technology with an emphasis on instructional support programs, non-course-based developmental ed. interventions, and course-pairing (allowing a student to simultaneously take a developmental and a credit-bearing course). The bill also calls for the higher education coordinating board to provide professional development programs, including on differentiated instruction methods to address students' diverse needs, to faculty and staff who provide developmental courses.
But wait, there's more! H.B. 1244 also requires learning outcomes to be developed for developmental ed. courses, and for these to be used to determine when a student is ready for credit-bearing coursework. These learning outcomes are to be developed by the higher education coordinating board based on established college and career readiness standards and student performance on assessments. The legislation likewise permits an institution of higher education to waive tuition for a student participating in a non-semester-long developmental education intervention, including course-based, non-course-based, alternative-entry/exit, and other intensive developmental education activities).
Unfortunately, while modular remediation targeted at student need can be found at individual institutions, it is rare for these approaches to be adopted in legislation. More on Texas' remediation innovations in future posts.