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Higher Ed Toolkit

Key Policy Goals:
Developmental Education Reform

Prepare POCI students for success

Minnesota’s college and universities need to prepare for POCI students, instead of requiring POCI students to meet the needs of a higher education system that wasn’t designed for them.

In this Toolkit

graphic illustration of a faculty member making a list for equity planning at her institution

Reforming developmental education to center college completion

Developmental education is incredibly costly to students, especially Minnesota’s POCI students. Mounting evidence shows that traditional approaches for determining college “readiness” and requiring developmental education courses hinder student success.

“Minnesota must consider the reality of who POCI students are, and not assume they are a typical college student from another era.”

When the Minnesota higher education system was designed, the typical student was young, single, white, 18-22 years old, and from a middle or higher income two-parent household.

This is another way structural racism continues to play out in Minnesota’s higher-ed systems, creating ongoing barriers to college access and completion and leaving POCI students out of opportunities to build a life they want and deserve.

What Minnesota can do right now

How Minnesota lawmakers, colleges, and institutions can remove systemic barriers to college access and completion for Minnesota’s POCI students.

graphic illustration of administrators meeting to talk about more equity in higher education

A watershed moment for higher education in Minnesota

How can Minnesota lead during this critical moment in history? A recent paper published by, “Anti-Racism in Higher Education: A Model for Change” calls for colleges to “dismantle systems of white supremacy” and to embrace “shared power across racial lines.”

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graphic illustration of an administrator celebrating the equity framework in her school

Revise institutional policies for determining developmental ed placement

Minnesota state colleges and universities should use multiple measures for developmental ed assessment and determination, including GPA and SAT scores, as opposed to relying solely on Accuplacer scores to determine student placement.

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What we can learn from students, and each other

How colleges and universities across the country are redefining what it means to center student success.

What would it look like if we redesigned college math pathways?

College algebra continues to be a “gatekeeper” to college access and completion. Students should be provided with the right math program—such as data science or statistics—that promotes critical thinking and suits their fields of study and desired careers.

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What happens when colleges broaden access to college-level courses?

Expanded access to transfer-level math and English courses through curricular reforms dramatically increases the chances that students of all racial/ethnic groups will successfully complete these courses.

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What if we stopped relying on placement testing as a measure of student success?

Data from California is showing that by switching to multiple measures assessment (including GPA and self-guided placement), colleges are significantly expanding both access to and success in gatekeeper courses.

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How can colleges eliminate equity gaps in outcomes that we see even in co-requisite models?

Co-requisite remediation has been shown to be more effective for all demographic groups, compared with traditional prerequisite models

However, rather than asking merely whether a remedial reform works for all students, a greater focus on equity may lead to a broader question: What more should be done for Black and Latinx students and those who have been historically marginalized in higher education?

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Key policy areas to achieve our goals

MnEEP’s recent research shows Minnesota must advance equity-centered policies and practices in four key areas right now to build higher-ed spaces that honor and support POCI students in their higher-ed journey.

Learn more about these policy areas to achieve our goals and what you can do to advance them at your college, institution, or at the Capitol.

1. Financial aid reform

Minnesota’s financial aid policies are outdated. It’s critical we build new policies that center the unique goals and needs of POCI students.

Why financial-aid reform?

2. Anti-racist practices

Minnesota’s colleges must work to build anti-racist policies and practices in every area—from leadership positions to public narratives.

What are anti-racist practices?

3. Holistic student supports

Minnesota must redesign the student experience at all levels to support working students, first-generation students, and POCI students.

What are holistic student supports?

4. Developmental ed reform

Minnesota must reassess its antiquated dev ed requirements to remove barriers to college access and degree attainment for POCI students.

Why dev ed reform?
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