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Developmental Education

Not all high school graduates are ready for college coursework, however, this should not prevent the possibility of a college degree or credential. The Council works with Kentucky’s colleges and universities in improving the academic and advising support systems for underprepared students.

Why Kentucky needs improvement

About one in three Kentucky high school graduates needs to build skills to be ready for college-level work in three crucial subjects: reading, writing and mathematics.  Many of these students are unaware of their skill levels and enroll in college to pursue a degree. This lack of preparedness can cause students to struggle with the rigor of academic curriculum and often contributes to low completion and graduation rates.

Developmental education programs in Kentucky’s colleges and universities assist underprepared students in attaining the competencies needed to succeed in college. These programs can include tutoring and mentoring, academic support and a variety of advising services, from personal to career.

How the Council helps improve developmental education programming

In collaboration with faculty and campus leadership, the Council has implemented the Kentucky College Readiness Indicators. These benchmarks standardize assessment of a student being “college-ready.” Based on ACT and other placement exam scores, this new standardization helps guarantee a student is ready for credit-bearing coursework at any public college or university in Kentucky without additional preparation.

In addition, the Council works with schools in improving the assessment of student readiness through monitoring the education outcomes of all students. Within the K-12 sector, the Council works with the Kentucky Department of Education in the ongoing readiness assessment of high school graduates through the Kentucky college readiness reporting system. Within the postsecondary sector, the Council monitors and analyzes retention, progression, completion, and graduation data for all students, including underprepared students.

How developmental education benefits Kentuckians

Developmental education at Kentucky’s colleges and universities not only includes remedial coursework, but also a myriad of academic and advising support systems and services to assist students. The Council’s work in developmental education helps campuses constantly assess the success of these programs, as well as help K-12 school districts improve the curriculum needed for all graduates to be “college ready.” This improves student success rates at both levels.

How developmental education helps us toward 2030 goals

College preparation is an effective way to increase not only the percentage of students who succeed in postsecondary education, but also to ensure students opting out of college are equipped with the skills needed for career. This statewide effort to improve readiness is pivotal in ensuring Kentucky’s future workforce is competitive in a global economy.


Learn more about Kentucky's education goals by viewing Stronger By Degrees, the Council's strategic agenda for postsecondary and adult education.

Last Updated 6/16/2017