Texas and Co-Requisite Remediation

If you are in the field of developmental education you have probably already heard about an important impending change in state policy.

Last month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law the use of co-requisite remediation as the required model for students in developmental education courses. Co-requisite remediation places students in college-level, or gateway, English and math courses, but pairs those courses with additional support, as reported by Ashley A. Smith, in Inside Higher Ed.

“We took a look at the models around the country and saw a number of states where the co-requisite models are working better than the other jumble of developmental educational models,” said Raymund Paredes, commissioner of higher education for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. “We know Tennessee is doing well with the model. Colorado is doing well. We looked at the data and said we need to try something different,” the article reports.

The new law gives all of the state’s public colleges and universities that have developmental education programs until 2018 to have 25 percent of their developmental students enrolled in a co-requisite course. The mandate increases to 50 percent by 2019 and by 2020 to 75 percent.

Paredes said the gradual scaling up will give those colleges that prefer other remedial reforms an opportunity to try their approaches, gather data and demonstrate to lawmakers that other models are just as or more effective. But if they can’t, the Legislature could decree that 100 percent of remediation be co-requisite, he said.

Please read the entire article. Austin Community College has developed a pilot program that may be of interest, which is discussed in the piece.

As you might expect, it may get complicated to comply with the law. For one thing, instructors in developmental education may not be qualified to teach a gateway transfer class. Likewise, instructors of, say, transfer English or Algebra, may not have training in developmental pedagogy.

As usual, large institutions will have more flexibility to make changes with current personnel. Smaller schools may be facing tougher decisions, especially since they tend to employ a lower proportion of adjunct instructors.