Colleges have implemented a wide range of developmental education reforms to help students pass gateway math courses in their first year—a key indicator of persistence and completion. Those that have proven effective include adopting co-requisite courses, transforming math instruction, reforming course placement strategies, aligning math courses with career pathways and providing wraparound support.

Yet despite the demonstrated effectiveness of these initiatives, some students arrive on campus too far behind in math to benefit from those reforms, and are still not being served well by developmental education efforts. We want to learn who these students are, how many of them are being left behind and what obstacles are standing in the way of their success.


To find out which students are not well-served by the existing reforms, we’ve enlisted The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to help leaders in the field develop a research agenda. NAS is a well-regarded group of researchers with a long history of advancing science, solving complex problems and informing public policy decisions.

NAS has assembled a committee of experts in developmental mathematics as well as equity and inclusion. In March 18-19, 2019, the committee will meet with a broad group of stakeholders at a workshop that will include panel discussions and presentations and will be webcast live.  After the workshop, NAS will publicly share a peer-reviewed summary of the workshop proceedings and later publish a book in both print and electronic forms.

We hope that opening this line of inquiry will encourage discussion among funders and stakeholders, and highlight opportunities for investment, ultimately uncovering ways to build a more inclusive postsecondary system.


Contact Senior Program Officer Sue Cui at