Sorted out: Remedial ed doesn’t prepare students

Remedial courses at community colleges don’t prepare students for college-level work, concludes a new study conducted at urban colleges. The remedial track primarily serves to keep unprepared students out of crowded college-level classes.

What does “college-ready” mean?

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  1. This shouldn’t be a surprise to any student who has had to take remedial course, esp. in math. The students by definition shouldn’t be admitted to the college (community or otherwise) in the first place.

    I’m wondering, if the student cannot make the grade in terms of knowledge, aside from getting their money and having them drop out after a year of taking coursework which doesn’t count towards a degree or certification of any type, why aren’t schools simply telling these students:

    You’re simply NOT ready to handle college level coursework, but please come back in a year or so when you are ready to test again.


    • palisadesk says:

      You answered your own question — “getting their money and having them drop out after a year”

      Some community college programs are vocational in nature and don’t require a high level of academic skills. Perhaps what is needed is some entry criteria for various programs and career counseling to steer the student down a likely successful path.

    • Tuition collected for one semester or year is better than none at all, so far as higher ed is concerned. No one is barred from post-secondary institutions these days.

    • sandra cecconello says:

      Bill I can only suspect that your life has been nothing short of perfect; or you would not have been so focused on your answer. You see, it is my suspicion that people that have nothing else to focus on zero in on any one type of dilemma but students that deal with life have more than one focus to choose from thus they spread themselves just a little too thin thus not giving of their best in any one area but a little of their best in each area. Much like cutting a pie; the more you have to share with, the smaller the piece of pie. BUT and I emphatically state “but” because the smaller the piece of pie; the easier it is to savor the flavor. As much as I could be wrong (and I probably am) just as much I could be right. I will only lay claim to one definite input here and that is I am one of those students you commented about; you see, I have attempted developmental math for seven semesters; factually it is the only course I need to graduate with an Associates; yet my psych grades are for the most part above average; I am also 62 years old. You say to “come back in a year or two when” the student is “developmentally ready” well I have three children; one did graduate, the other had over 120 credits-no degree was murdered when she was 27; and the last attempted college and kept getting “shut down” by his instuctors yet he has made more money than I have seen in my lifetime (all legal jobs); my ex is a ninth grade dropout from special ed yet he also has made more money than I is what school is all about…GETTING ALONG WITH OTHERS; SOCIALIZING, LEARNING, SHARING WHAT IS LEARNED, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY NETWORKING. Will I get that degree? Do I deserve that degree? Will I do anything with that degree? YES, YES, AND I ALREADY DID!!

  2. It’s a win-win for the Universities; they get a huge influx of students every year that they’re 99% sure they won’t have to see through to graduation; they get a lot of money for those students; and the icing on the cake, they can maximize those profits by having grad school students teach those classes for near slave wages (~$10,000/year – yes, you can have a PhD and be living in poverty!)

  3. Actually,

    Most vocational programs in community colleges require in many cases a working knowledge of at least basic algebra (or a solid foundation in math in general), and strong english/science skills.

    Want to be a ASE certified technician, you’ll never pass the exams without a working knowledge of algebra, and any of the better automotive tech programs which train workers for these exams should let the students know beforehand.

    Same goes for HVAC/Sonography/Radiography/or other related health careers, etc.

    Taking students money by allowing them to be admitted (without any reasonable chance of success) should be defined as fraud, IMO.

    But that will never happen in the U.S. of A.

  4. Giving a HS diploma to kids who not only lack real HS-grad knowledge and skills but to those who are functionally illiterate and/or innumerate is also fraudulent. Even a bigger fraud is telling kids, by grades they are given, that they will be/are ready for college, CC or good vo-tech programs when they may not be in the same county, let alone ballpark, for any of the above.

  5. PS: The sorting should begin at HS entry. Only those kids whose academic preparation and motivation signal likely successful completion should be admitted to college prep or vo-tech programs (varying reqs for the latter, according to specific field). Others should be in a general program, with preparation for work entry and remediation as needed. Waiting until after HS to do the sorting is costly, unfair, and as was said above, and fraudulent.

  6. Which is why high school diplomas and some bachelor’s degrees are about as useful as toilet paper anymore…