Key Questions

1. Did enrollment in ninth-grade college-preparatory courses increase as a result of the policy mandate, and did course-taking change among different types of students after the policy was implemented?

2. Did students’ academic outcomes improve by taking college-preparatory instead of remedial classes?

3. Did the policy effects differ for students entering high school with different skill levels?


As states and districts across the country implement college-preparatory curriculum standards for all students, this report suggests that these efforts could have the opposite effects of those intended. Specifically, the brief finds that Chicago’s 1997 policy eliminating remedial classes and requiring all high school students to take college-preparatory coursework had no positive effects on student achievement and may actually have hurt the college prospects of some top students.

See the working paper to learn about the full research study.