Edgecombe, Nikki. (2011). Accelerating the Academic Achievement of Students Referred to Developmental Education. CCRC Working Paper No. 30.
Acceleration, which involves the reorganization of instruction and curricula in ways that facilitate the completion of academic requirements in an expedited manner, is an increasingly popular strategy at community colleges for improving the outcomes of developmental education students. This paper reviews the literature on acceleration and considers the quality of evidence available on the effects of acceleration on student outcomes. After examining various definitions of acceleration to better understand what it is and how it works, the paper describes and categorizes the different acceleration models in use. Then the recent empirical literature on acceleration is reviewed to assess the effectiveness of these approaches. While the empirical basis for acceleration is not as strong as is desirable, existing evidence suggests that there are a variety of models of course redesign and mainstreaming that community colleges can employ to enhance student outcomes. The paper closes with a discussion of the challenges involved in implementing acceleration strategies and recommendations for policy, practice, and research.