Florida will let students opt out of remediation

Starting in 2014, most Florida community college students will be able to skip remedial classes and start at the college level, regardless of their academic preparation, if they choose to do so. They can skip placement tests too.

Too much information makes students tune out, a New York college found. The college and its departments were generating 286 emails, letters and phone calls about enrollment each semester.

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  1. Thinly Veiled Anonymity says:

    Maybe we should just let everyone take a try at Medical School, too.

  2. I sure wouldn’t want any college-ready child of mine in a class with kids who aren’t able to do that level work; they’ve had far too much of that scenario in k-12.

  3. Stacy in NJ says:

    I think it’s a excellent idea. They’ll either sink or swim. If they sink, they can then choose to remediate. The Profs will need to be heartless in failing those who can’t manage though. Let individuals take responsibility for their own success or failure – what a concept! As long as they’re receiving honest feedback and have support in remediation if they seek it, it could work.

    • I’m betting that there will be pressure on the faculty to pass the struggling. The pressure to give good grades, no matter how undeserved, already exists for supposedly college-ready kids in non-remedial classes. The days of the freshman weed-out courses are long gone, in far too many schools and majors.

      • At some colleges there may be pressure to pass students, but when I taught at a CC they had no problem with a faculty member who failed a lot of their students. They had a transfer agreement with state U, and were very concerned that our classes teach what they were supposed to teach.

        A drop rate of 30-50% was expected (not all of it was due to academics). As long as we could back up our grades with evidence of student absenteeism, failure to turn in assignments, or poor performance, we were never questioned. I’m sure that they would have questioned our teaching if everybody did poorly, but at CCs I usually got either a flat distribution (equal numbers of each grade) or a bimodal distribution with lots of A/B grades and a bunch of Fs. Both indicated that the class was passable (and that students could do really well), so the administration was fine with it. Our dean had risen from the teaching ranks and still usually taught a class, so he knew the student population.

        • There may not be official pressure, but there is usually enough coming from the students. You can bet on someone having a sob story – they just HAVE to pass this class, or their life is RUINED (and of course it’s all YOUR FAULT for being such a meanie).

          Of course, as an instructor you have to resist this, but some students will try and break you down with their constant whining. I must admit, though, that our department (math) has been pretty good about supporting us, as long as it’s in the syllabus and we can show the grade wasn’t pulled out of a hat or something.

          • Yeah, some students really do have sob stories. Luckily, teaching a required health science course, my students usually got it when I said that none of us wants students who don’t know the basics treating patients. We actually got more whining at big schools with premeds or students on lottery scholarships – they needed As or Bs and the whining knew no bounds. My CC students were often dealing with a lot, and some were just slackers. The usually blamed themselves for their failures, though. I usually asked a gimme question of ‘what could be done to improve your test grades?’, and they usually said that they should work harder. Still, if there’s a big influx in underprepared students, I can imagine it being a problem – the drop rate is high enough with the test-placed students.

    • During my (very brief) time teaching at a CC, the complaint I received was I “expected too much” of the students and that I should “help” them pass. So I think you’re right in your assertion, at least at some schools.

  4. Florida resident says:

    My recollection of Chemistry course, which a very close relative took as summer dual (with High School) enrollment course in 2001 in a local (Floridian) community college,
    is that it was almost complete baloney.

    However, computer testing for being admitted to that course was pretty interesting. The testing program self-adjusted the difficulty of questions as a reaction to previous responses., and eventually this relative felt that she completely failed the test. Actually she got twice the score needed for admission.

    Good testing program, weak course.

    • Stacy in NJ says:

      FL resident – our CC has different types of Chemistry – and all science classes – depending on the degree. For those going into nursing or a medical or STEMs related field a more rigorous class is required if the student wants either a particular degree or to transfer to a 4-year school with a STEMs major. For the humanities majors or other fields easier science courses are offered.

  5. Florida Resident,

    I’ve had some CBT (computer based testing) for various certification exams in Information Technology I’ve taken since 2001, and in one exam, it lasted exactly 10 questions (which were 10 VERY hard questions) when it stopped and flashed up the green sign “PASSED”.

    Adaptive testing is what this is called, and afaic, if a student can pass this type of examination (which is randomized in from a pool of questions), they should be given the credit.

    However, eliminating remediation is just going to have a lot more students attempting college coursework, failing miserably, and in the end, wasting a lot of time and money for the student and the college.

  6. Florida resident says:

    Dear Stacy in NJ, dear Bill !
    Thank you for your reaction.
    I am enjoying “senior discount” in Goodwill store, so as you can imagine, I personally had not been exposed to Adaptive testing.
    I am not sure if it counts for STEM, but the relative in question eventually graduated from Dept. of Chemistry and Chem. Biology from Cornell, and got Ph.D. for placenta research from UCSF.
    My invariable respect to Ms. Jacobs.
    Your F.r.

  7. And this is why ‘Florida’ has its own dedicated tag on Fark.com…