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Resource Corner
David Arendale
Assistant professor, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, faculty advisor for outreach,

Best and Emerging Practices in Developmental Education and Learning Assistance: An Annotated Bibliography, Part Two

This annotated bibliography identifies publications and resources that may be of use to those in the field of developmental education and learning assistance. This is a continuation of the first half of the bibliography published in the last issue of this newsletter.

“Best practices” are policies, principles, standards, guidelines, and procedures that contribute to the highest, most resource-effective, improved student outcomes. Best practices originally were created in business. The business community seeks to learn what leading companies do well and to seek continuous quality improvement, which contributes to higher productivity and profitability. Best practices in developmental education and learning assistance are consistent with current student retention theories, professional standards, contemporary learning theories, and successful replicated implementations with student outcomes that survive rigorous evaluation. “Emerging practices” refers to practices that show great promise for improved student outcomes, but have not been implemented as widely as best practices have been in the past.

College Reading and Learning Association. (2005). Homepage. [Online]. Retrieved April 10, 2005, from

CRLA provides a certification program for the training of tutors and mentors. This Web site provides recommended topics to include in training programs.

Council for the Advancement of Standards. (2005). The CAS Book of ; Professional Standards for Higher Education. [Online]. Washington, DC: Author.

CAS, along with the appropriate professional associations, has developed specific standards for a wide range of programs within student affairs. Several standards and accompanying evaluation worksheets that are directly relevant to developmental education include: academic advising, counseling services, disability support services, educational services for distance learners, learning assistance programs, outcomes assessment and program evaluation, student orientation programs, TRIO, and other educational opportunity programs.

Farmer, V. L., & Barham, W. A. (Eds.). (2001). Selected models of developmental education programs in higher education. New York: University Press of America.

This book identifies best practices in developmental education in the following areas: affective and cognitive support services, curriculum and instruction, assessment and evaluation, and integrating developmental programs within the institution.

Geller, L. K. (2003). A description, comparison, and contrast of postsecondary developmental education programs in North Dakota. Unpublished dissertation, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT.

This study of public postsecondary institutions in North Dakota had among its purposes a comparison of each institution’s policies, organizational, and institutional characteristics to best practices in developmental education.

Keimig, R. T. (1983). Raising academic standards: A guide to learning improvement. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Research Report No. 4. Washington, DC: Association for the Study of Higher Education. Retrieved April 9, 2005, from

Keimig identified a hierarchy of programs that support higher academic achievement for students who are academically underprepared. The book often has been cited for inspiring restructuring of developmental education programs for increased effectiveness.

MacDonald, R. B. (2000). The master tutor: A guidebook for more effective tutoring (2nd ed.). Williamsville, NY: Cambridge Stratford.

Based on the most rigorous research conducted on tutoring, the book identifies best practices in tutoring and provides practical suggestions for its implementation.

Maxwell, M. (Ed.). (1994). From access to success: A book of readings on college developmental education and learning assistance programs. Clearwater, FL: H & H Publishing.

One of the pioneers in developmental education, Maxwell has collected some of the most influential articles previously published that identify best practices in the field.

Maxwell, M. (1997). Improving student learning skills: A new edition. Clearwater, FL: H & H Publishing.

This book is an update of her classic book that defined the field. Maxwell identifies critical practices needed with developmental education programs.

Muraskin, L. (1997). “Best practices” in student support services: A study of five exemplary sites. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED416784).

This report examines best practices in the delivery of student support services (SSS), one of the special programs for disadvantaged students collectively known as the TRIO programs. The study is based on case studies that were conducted in five local SSS projects during early 1996. The five projects were drawn from 30 projects in the National Study of Student Support Services, a longitudinal survey of students begun in 1991.

National Association for Developmental Education. (2005). Homepage. [Online].

NADE provides a certification program for developmental education courses, tutoring, and course-based learning assistance (i.e., supplemental instruction, peer-led team learning, Emerging Scholars Program, and others).

Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (1991). How college affects students: Findings and insights from twenty years of research. Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

These researchers provide a critical review of nearly 3,000 research studies concerning the influence of college upon students. The book identifies critical practices that make a difference in student outcomes. While not aimed specifically towards developmental education, the research findings are very informative and can be applied to any program in postsecondary education.

Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How college affects students: A third decade of research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

This book follows the authors’ 1991 landmark book by including an analysis of nearly 2,600 research studies on the topic of how college impacts students.

Simpson, M. L., Stahl, N. A., & Francis, M. A. (2004). Reading and learning strategies: Recommendations for the 21st century. Journal of Developmental Education, 28(2), 2-4, 6, 8, 10-12, 14-15, 32.

This is a follow-up to the widely cited publication from Stahl, Simpson, and Hayes (2000) that identifies more critical practices that improve outcomes for students participating in developmental education activities and programs.

Stahl, N. A., & Boylan, H. (Eds.). (2003). Teaching developmental reading: Historical, theoretical, and practical background readings. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press.

The editors have collected the most important previously published articles and book chapters on best practices in developmental reading and study strategies.

Stahl, N. A., Simpson, M. L., Hayes, C. G. (1992). Ten recommendations from research  for teaching high-risk college students. Journal of Developmental Education, 16(1), 2-4, 6, 8, 10.

One of the most cited articles in developmental education, this set of recommendations drew on recent research to identify critical practices related to higher student outcomes for students who are academically underprepared.

Wilcox, K. S., delMas, R. C., Stewart, B., Johnson, A. B., & Ghere, D. (1997). The “package course” experience and developmental education. Journal of Developmental Education, 20(3), 18-20, 22, 24, 26.

The effect of package courses—based on the learning community model—on several educational outcomes was investigated for linked courses: a content course; an academic success/study skills course; and, in some cases, a noncredit math course. Package course students earned higher student outcomes and additional qualitative benefits were observed at the former General College of the University of Minnesota.

Upcraft, M. L., Gardner, J. N., Barefoot, B. O. (2005). Challenging & supporting the first-year student: A handbook for improving the first year of college. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

This long-awaited second edition identifies many key program features for serving the needs of first-year students, including developmental education students.

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