Remedial students flood CUNY

Spending on remedial classes has doubled at New York City’s community colleges in the last 10 years, in part due to a sharp rise in “triple low remedial” students who are far behind in reading, writing and math.

“Most students have serious challenges remembering the basic rules of arithmetic,” (LaGuardia Professor Jerry) Ianni said of his remedial math class. “The course is really a refresher, but they aren’t ready for a refresher.”

Also on Community College Spotlight: “Learning communities” help students pass remedial math, but the effect fades after a few semesters, research concludes.


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Comments

  1. “The course is really a refresher, but they aren’t ready for a refresher. They need to learn how to learn.”

    This is an absolute failure of the K-12 education system. We pay ever more for ever less education. When the number of students needing remediation in reading, writing and math doubles, it’s time for lots of big shots to lose their jobs.

  2. It’s very hard for us to admit that the older a student is when remediation is begun, the less successful it’s likely to be. It’s also hard to admit that, past a certain age, students are very unlikely to “come from behind” and succeed at academics. The “college for all” faction can always point to exceptions (heck, I can point to exceptions in my own family). But we can’t build an educational system on exceptions. It’s disrespectful to the students who are being sold a bill of goods, its a poor use of resources, and the results will be disappointing.

  3. I’d like to advance a novel idea; no remedial college classes, either in community colleges or 4-year colleges. Turn the responsibility back to the k-12 system; bring back the night/adult high schools. If kids with HS diplomas couldn’t get into any college, perhaps the k-12 system would feel the burn and do its job. Of course, students have to do their job, also, but the current system requires neither. It’s education in name only.

  4. Stacy in NJ says:

    momof4, I like that..”education in name only..” That about sums it up.

  5. Roger Sweeny says:

    It’s disrespectful to the students who are being sold a bill of goods, its a poor use of resources, and the results will be disappointing.

    But it sure makes jobs in the ed. business. The longer we can string them along, the more jobs there are for us (as long as we can get someone to keep paying).

  6. Cranberry says:

    At CUNY, administrators point out that the academic prowess of students in their four-year colleges has risen: the percentage of freshmen at the five most selective colleges with combined scores of at least 1,200 on the SAT reasoning test has almost tripled in 10 years — to 24 percent this year.

    At the community colleges, the proportion of new students who need remediation has actually fallen slightly during that time. But because of growing enrollments, those students’ numbers have climbed. In 2001, 3,041 students needed remediation in three subjects; last fall, the number rose to 4,168.

    It seems that the number of triple low remedial students reflects an increase in the proportion of high school students choosing to enroll in college.

  7. These students should not be admitted to any college, but rather sent to adult education to master the basics they should have learned while going to K-12 (why should a NYC taxpayer subsidize an education twice). Also, at the same time, charge them full price for the coursework (no taxpayer bailout here).

    Perhaps this seems harsh, but IMO, students who need this much remediation just do not belong in a college setting. A recent article showing problems at Pima Comm. College in Arizona showed that starting in 2004, the number of students needing remediation was 95%, and that by 2009 (5 years), 89% of these students have not completed a degree or the needed coursework to qualify for a degree.

    Remedial education is costing this nation billions of dollars in funding which it doesn’t have. If you didn’t want to study your a** off the first time around, don’t expect the taxpayer to pay for it again (there is no obligation to a college education in this nation, unlike the finding by Plyler vs Doe (1982) which says that a student has a ‘right’ to a public education, regardless of their immigration status.

  8. Money quote from TFA:

    New York City’s public schools are trying to reduce the need for remediation by aligning curricula with CUNY.

    Actual success requires both alignment back into K-6 AND honest grading, but it’s a start.

  9. J. D. Salinger says:

    It seems that the number of triple low remedial students reflects an increase in the proportion of high school students choosing to enroll in college.

    Thus offering a handy excuse for the inadequacies of K-8. Yes, there may be more people choosing to enroll in college, and some of them may not be suited for college. But how many of those not suited for college could have been with better preparation in lower grades? Too easy to blame it entirely on the student, tempting as that may be.

  10. Well, given the concepts of ‘look-say’ and whole language, and use of reform mathematics, I would have to say that J.D. comment isn’t too far off the mark.

    A student who does not get a good grounding in math and reading (they should know how to read, spell, and count before getting to kindergarten/1st grade) is going to have a very hard time trying to make up that ground in grades 2 through 5.

  11. Genevieve says:

    I have to disagree with removing remedial classes from community colleges. I am for renaming them, College Algebra is not a college class, as adult education or adult basic education. They probably should even be a separate part of the community college. Our local community college has a continuing ed program of non-credit classes. This CC also offers basic adult education, ie basic literacy, and G.E.D. prep. It also used to offer a program for high school students to make up a few classes, so that they would qualify for a high school diploma back at their home high school.
    I trust the community college to deal with students that have to learn basic skills more than our area high schools. Plus, they now have a lot of experience working with these students.
    Finally, they can be less expensive than the school district because the pay and benefits are less generous. They also use a lot of adjuncts.