Policy background: remedial education reform (PA 12-40) basics

"Policy background" is our article series explaining the basic elements of a piece of legislation or specific issue - a reference article of sorts.

A remedial education reform (PA 12-40) primer:

PA 12-40 has three main components:Opportunity

  • Placement reform. Higher education institutions are required to use “multiple commonly accepted measures of skill” to decide if new students need remedial education. The legislators believed that the overreliance on Accuplacer, the testing software used to evaluate students, was forcing too many of them into remedial classes. Under the act, colleges need to use are least two measures to gauge the students’ level of knowledge.
  • Limits to the amount of time that students can spend in remedial classes. Under PA 12-40, students cannot be enrolled in non-credit bearing remedial classes for more than one semester.  (Classes in different subjects can be taken in different semesters.)
  • Tiered, three level system for developmental education. Students will receive their remedial education either embedded in college level classes, through intensive remedial courses, or via transitional programs associated with the community college structure. The Board of Regents estimates that about a third of community college students who need developmental education will fall into each category.

The three remedial education tiers are:

Embedded remediation: Students who are close to being ready for college-level courses, but need some additional help to be fully up to speed. Students take part in college level courses for credit, but with embedded remedial education, attending a regular credit bearing class while receiving addition support from the teaching staff. Students can attend additional teaching hours, receive support from tutors, and undertake extra course work.  The support is wedded into the subject of the class, so the student is not learning these concepts in a vacuum and can re-learn concepts without having to resort to a dedicated class.

Intensive remedial education: The embedded remedial education is viable for students who are close to being college ready. For those who will not be able to follow a course with additional math or English built in, PA 12-40 allows higher education institutions to provide intensive remedial classes.  Community colleges are shifting their programs to shorter courses with more class hours and teacher support, often including additional lab time.

Transitional students: For those students who are not yet college ready and need more than one semester of remediation, PA 12-40 requires higher education institutions to create a pre-enrollment program to get them college ready. We discuss these models in depth in this report, and these students are the focus of our concern with remedial education reform.

In 2013, the Connecticut General Assembly provided additional program and budget support to help implement the requirements of PA 12-40, including:

  • $250,000 for development of embedded and intensive model courses.
  • $2 million for implementation of pilot programs for community college remedial students at all levels.
  • Additional money for guidance counselors at each campus, as well as the creation of new faculty positions.

In addition, the Board of Regents dedicated $200,000 to develop transitional model strategies.

Have more questions? The Board of Regents have an excellent FAQ here.


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