Research, Consulting, and Special Projects

The following reports are available for purchase. Download the NCDE Publications order form on the right of this page.

The National Study of Developmental Education

The National Study of Developmental Education was funded by the Exxon Education Foundation. The project was designed to assess the efficacy of various courses and services provided in support of underprepared students enrolled in American colleges and universities. The initial study ran from 1989 through 1997 and examined various developmental program activities and outcomes from a randomly selected sample of 150 institutions and 6,000 students. The major goals were to identify the state of the art in developmental education, identify effective teaching and learning strategies, identify effective models for the delivery of developmental and learning assistance services, and identify future research issues for the field. Findings have been presented at a variety of professional conferences and have appeared in Research In Developmental Education and the Journal of Developmental Education.

Some parts of the project have continued with additional support from the National Association for Developmental Education, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Exxon Education Foundation.

Annotated Bibliography of Major Journals in Developmental Education (ABOMJ), Volume 2

Funded by the NCDE, this project is a collection of annotations of all articles in the Journal of Developmental Education, 14(3) - 21(2), the Journal of College Reading and Learning, 23(2) - 28(2), and Research and Teaching in Developmental Education, 7(2) - 14(2). More than 400 journal articles are annotated and classified by subject area.

The Sloan Study of Minority Retention in Higher Education

Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, this study sought to identify factors associated with the success of underprepared African-American and Hispanic students in postsecondary education. These reports contain research findings, a comprehensive annotated literature review, and research-based recommendations to promote minority student retention.

Texas Academic Skills Program Evaluation Project

This study was contracted by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and designed to investigate the effectiveness of the Texas Academic Skills Program, examine the outcomes of developmental programs at Texas Postsecondary Education Institutions, and to identify the "best practices" of these programs. A program evaluation manual was also published based on these and other research findings. Some of these reports are available in the reports and research section of the NCDE website.

Sponsored Research and Contracts

The NCDE conducts research, evaluation, and demonstration projects on a contract or grant basis. The projects range from nationwide studies of developmental education issues to the evaluation of individual developmental programs. The NCDE only solicits funding for projects that are consistent with its mission and the expertise of its staff. Grants and contracted services are directed by Hunter R. Boylan. Further information regarding grants and contracts may be obtained by calling (828) 262-3057, or via email to Hunter R. Boylan at

In addition, other contracted studies include:

  • A comprehensive evaluation study of Bakersfield College in Bakersfield, California.
  • A study of developmental education programs in the State of Texas (funded by the Texas Association of Community Colleges) to examine current practices and assess effectiveness.
  • A joint research project with the Council for the Advancement of Adult Literacy to examine the linkages between adult education and developmental education programs. The report is posted at CAAL's website (PDF).
  • The Telementoring Project supported by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and designed to explore distance learning as a vehicle for training developmental education professionals.
  • The Mississippi Academic Support System Project contracted by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning and designed to develop a statewide assessment, placement, and support system for underprepared students in Mississippi state universities.
  • The evaluation of various Upward Bound and Student Support Services Programs supported by the U.S. Office of Education.

The Visiting Scholars Program

The Visiting Scholars Program designed to promote research in the field. Through this program, the NCDE hosts scholars researching topics in developmental education for periods ranging from a few days to a semester. While visiting, scholars are given access to the Center's resource library, databases, and staff. They are also provided with a work station, computer, and clerical assistance. In cases where the scholar's research is consistent with the Center's research agenda, a small stipend may be provided. In return for these services, Visiting Scholars are expected to submit a manuscript based on their research to Research in Developmental Education, the Journal of Developmental Education, or other NCDE publications.

Visiting scholars' appointments are approved by the NCDE staff upon recommendation of the Director or Assistant Director. Those interested in becoming visiting scholars at the NCDE should submit a letter of interest to:

Dr. Hunter R. Boylan, Director,
NCDE, Appalachian State University
ASU Box 32098
Boone, NC 28608

The letter of interest should include a description of the scholar's research and a list of objectives that the scholar hopes to accomplish while visiting and working at the NCDE.