One-third of community college students in remedial courses don't need them
- One in three community college students taking remedial courses is likely "misdirected," according to a new report that outlines an alternative system for determining whether students require remedial classes, Campus Technology reported.
- The Community College Research Center and social policy group MDRC found that 60% of community college students are asked to take remedial courses based on familiar assessments, but that many of those learners might succeed in traditional courses if GPA and non-cognitive assessments are also considered.
- The report offers several recommendations beyond the use of assessments to encourage college officials to consider new ways of placing students in courses, including reviewing state placement policies and how to manage the logistics of the proposed system.
Taking remedial classes can increase the cost and duration of college, negatively impacting degree completion rates. A report from the Center for American Progress found that 40-60% of first-year students need remedial courses in English, math or both, with only 10% of students who take remedial classes graduating on time.
To help students manage costs and complete their degrees, some colleges are implementing corequisite instruction, where students receive support but are placed in regular college courses. The model has been successfully used in math classes at Cuyamaca College, in El Cajon, California. Guttman Community College, in New York, has replaced its remedial courses with a similar program.
Earlier this year, community colleges in California began following guidance from legislation intended to decrease overreliance on testing to determine the need for remediation, which officials found caused students to drop out due to factors such as the inability to afford increased costs or frustration. In that state, about 170,000 students each year were being put into remedial courses despite research showing that the test scores used were not good predictors of college success. Legislators in Texas, Florida and Connecticut have passed similar laws.
The City University of New York, where about 80% of incoming freshmen took remedial courses in 2016, decreased the percentage to 62% in fall 2017 by changing its assessment policies after determining many of the standards were unfair or irrelevant.
- Campus Technology Researchers finding a better way to place community college students