The Short-term Effectiveness of a Remedial Mathematics Course: Evidence from a UK University


  • I would like to thank two anonymous referees and the editor for their valuable comments and suggestions. However, responsibility for errors remains with me. Financial support received by the Economics Network of the Higher Education Academy is gratefully acknowledged.


While there is growing debate in the USA about the effectiveness of remedial university courses, there have been fewer questions raised in the UK. Using a sharp regression discontinuity approach and data from a large School within a post-1992 UK university, we estimate the effect of remediation on student outcomes. We find no evidence that taking a math remedial course improves student performance in the first year. This finding is consistent and complements that of a recent study by Lagerlöf and Seltzer (2009, Journal of Economic Education, Vol. 40, pp. 115–136), which is based on data from a pre-1992 UK university.