New research: Too many college students routed into costly remedial courses when they only need a refresher

Education Week has a fascinating story this week on emerging research showing that many college students testing into remedial classes don’t need to be there.

A challenge in writing about education is the assumption factor. In Georgia, 70,000 students take remedial classes each year at our public colleges at an annual cost of $55 million. Nationally, the price tag is $7 billion.

We all despair that so many students are showing up at college unprepared and conclude that high schools aren’t doing their jobs.

But we never ask: Are these students being correctly identified?

Could it be that all some of them need are short-term refresher courses? Consider that many students are not entering college directly from high school and may have forgotten some of their math. According to Ed Week, close to a third of all entering college students are not coming directly from high school.

One study cited in the Ed Week story found that 20 percent of students in remedial math and 25 percent in reading were “severely misidentified,” which means they could have passed the entry level college courses with a grade of B or better.

This is an important issue as state legislatures, including ours, complain that high schools are at fault because they’re passing along kids who don’t know the material. Yet, an interesting element in this new research is that high school transcripts provide the fullest picture of what a student is capable of and what placement is appropriate.

Many posters contend that grade inflation makes report cards unreliable testimony to student ability, but several studies have found that grades — even from under performing high schools — speak to critical components of success, including dedication and perseverance.

From Ed Week, but please look at full story:

Separate studies from Teachers College, Columbia University, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education come to the same conclusion: The way colleges are using standardized placement tests such as the College Board’s Accuplacer, ACT’s Compass, and others can misidentify students, and secondary schools and universities should work to develop a more comprehensive profile of students’ strengths and weaknesses in performing college-level work.

The problem is coming to the fore as more states move to align their academic standards for college and career readiness with the Common Core State Standards and federal Race to the Top requirements and more high schools receive data on how their graduates are faring in colleges.

Thomas W. Brock, the new commissioner of the National Center for Education Research and a veteran higher education researcher, said improving remedial education has become a top research and policy concern. “It’s a huge need,” he said. “At many institutions, it’s a majority of students coming in and being placed into developmental ed.—and this is where it starts to bleed into the financial-aid agenda, because they’re using up valuable semesters of financial aid, which of course are not endless.”

According to the most recent data from the National Center on Education Statistics, 3 million new students enter higher education each year, and fully half take at least one catch-up course while they are enrolled—at a cost of nearly $7 billion a year for the noncredit-bearing classes.

“If you’re working in community colleges, especially urban community colleges, you get used to those numbers,” said Judith Scott-Clayton, an assistant professor of economics and education at Teachers College and an author of one study, which was published under the auspices of the National Bureau of Economic Research and presented at last month’s American Economics Association meeting in San Diego. “Remediation is the typical experience now.”

Those high rates of remediation have long been used by education policymakers to suggest that primary and secondary schools do not prepare students adequately for college-level work. They were one of the key arguments behind the development of the common core and other standards-reform initiatives, and states such as Illinois include remediation rates in feedback reports to high schools.

“It’s being used in some places for high school accountability, so this certainly raises a word of caution,” said Ms. Scott-Clayton. “We can’t just take the remediation rate as purely objective and without problems. Is this accountability gone awry?”

Ms. Scott-Clayton analyzed the high school transcript information, college-placement-test scores, and college progress of more than 50,000 students in a large, unnamed urban community college system and a separate statewide college system in the same state, which also is not identified. In the urban college system, which includes a high-minority population, she found three out of every four students were assigned to at least one remedial class; nearly 80 percent of all those who took the mathematics placement test were assigned to a remedial course. In the statewide system, the numbers were only slightly better: 70 percent of students who took the math placement test and 58 percent of those who took the English test were assigned to noncredit-bearing catch-up classes.

To determine whether all those students were really so unprepared for college-level work, Ms. Scott-Clayton examined the students’ actual high school and college credits earned and grades received. She found that 20 percent of students placed in remedial math and 25 percent of those placed in remedial reading were “severely misidentified,” meaning that not only could they have passed the entry college course in that subject, but they could have done so with a grade of B or better.

“So much focus and attention is on the students who are not succeeding, and how to help them succeed, that there just was not much talk about, ‘Hey, maybe there are some people in remediation who don’t need to be there,’” Ms. Scott-Clayton said.

Broader measures do increase accuracy, Ms. Scott-Clayton said; she found 30 percent lower rates of severe misidentification when placement decisions incorporated high school transcript data, including a student’s GPA, total courses taken and credits earned, honors classes taken, total classes in English and math, and the number of F grades received.

“The high school transcript info is basically more accurate for every group we look at,” Ms. Scott-Clayton said. “It’s true that it’s more subjective, but you are getting multiple measurements accumulated over time across several instructors. And it is capturing a broader array of skills, not just pure mechanical test-taking skills, but effort, persistence, motivation—things that we know matter a lot for college success.”

As part of researchers Angela Boatman and Bridget T. Long’s developmental-placement project at Harvard’s Strategic Data Project, Lindsay Daugherty, an associate policy researcher with the RAND Corp., also found test-based misplacement in a large school district and community college system in Texas. They found that at several community colleges requiring universal placement tests, 30 percent of students assigned to remediation were considered “college ready” based on their scores on the ACT, SAT, and state Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or TAKS, readiness assessments.

“Everyone understands what a good SAT score or ACT score is. It’s much more difficult, even within a local district to find the cutoff scores,” Ms. Daugherty said.

Ms. Daugherty found the Texas students often did not know how the tests worked, what a remedial class was, or “that they wouldn’t get college credit but they would have to pay for it and it could be up to a year of remedial courses,” she said. “These tend to be higher-performing, low-income minority students whose parents don’t have the time and resources to worry about whether a placement test affects their kids.”Students don’t realize what they’ve gotten themselves into until they’re halfway into the course,” she said.

In Ms. Daugherty’s study, to be presented at the March meeting of the Association for Education Finance and Policy, she found those refresher courses can reduce remediation placements. “Most of these higher math-performing students hadn’t been in algebra for three to four years, maybe,” she said. “They needed to just sit down for three or four hours and do some algebra problems, and it would come right back to them.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

57 comments Add your comment

Pardon My Blog

February 27th, 2013
9:16 am

Interesting article. As with many other issues today, there is not going to be one solution that will work for all.

Roach

February 27th, 2013
9:45 am

But, Maureen, the “high school grades who can’t write or add” story is so terrific, because it is so clear who’s to blame! Why complicate such a neat obvious example of someone else’s failure and “wasting millions of tax dollars” with messy reality? Some might even think that there was something wrong with one-shot, high-stakes, computer-scored tests.

Really amazed

February 27th, 2013
9:57 am

Attentive Parent/Invisible Serfs Collar

February 27th, 2013
10:12 am

You know I was getting CLE credit this year and ended up talking to a lawyerwho works with one of the USG schools who said they were getting rid of school email accounts because emailing is beyond too many of the students’ writing skills.

Part of the Race to the Top criteria said if a student graduated from a high school using the Common Core State Standards Initiative they were to be deemed College and Career Ready and were not to be put into non-credit bearing courses. No more remediation as it is expensive and interferes with too many students ultimately gaining that Credential.

The moment I read that in the ed regs I knew CCSSI was a scam. Of course that was long before I actually tracked down the real definitions of College and Career Ready. If CCSSI were truly solid you would not have to force higher ed in advance to accept the high school credential as unquestionable proof no remediation was needed.

This Ed Week story that I had already seen and viewed as further propaganda to whitewash the real common core implementation is just trying to gain popular support for changes to higher ed that are already a fait accompli.

It is not coincidental that Ed Week gets financial support from so many of the very foundations that are involved in making the actual CCSSI implementation about everything but content. Or as Linda Darling-Hammond always said “Just enough content knowledge.” Took me several years to truly track down what she meant by that.

Mary Elizabeth

February 27th, 2013
10:17 am

I am glad to learn that those students who need remedial work in college are being analyzed with great specificity.. However, even if 30% could succeed in regular college work with with only a refresher remedial course or two, 70% of those identified as needing remedial work in college remain.

This fact lends itself to suggesting that full mastery of high school concepts and skills might take some students more than 12 years to achieve, and that a continuous progress instructional design for grades 1 – 12+ should be considered in which mastery of high school requirements – and requirements necessary for success in college – is delivered to students according to individual rates of learning.

Better for students to be fully prepared before entering the college campus – by taking longer than the traditional four years in high school to do so – than by taking remedial courses in college. When students take remedial courses in college – for longer than a brief remediation – some may become discouraged because of the length of time taken without college credit given, or because the financial burden becomes to great to continue. These particular students may drop out of college before they really begin.

Mountain Man

February 27th, 2013
10:36 am

How about a better idea – don’t allow financial aid to be used for remediation. THEN high school graduates would CARE if they learned in high school. They would pay more attention to actual learning and less to cramming just to pass a couple of tests.

Mary Elizabeth

February 27th, 2013
10:37 am

Correction: “. . .with greater specificity,” not “. . .with great specificity.”

William Casey

February 27th, 2013
11:00 am

@MM: I wish that they would care if they knew financial aid wasn’t available. Alas, many can get their foolish parents to foot the bill for a freshman “party year.”

catlady

February 27th, 2013
11:31 am

MM: I don’t believe most kinds of financial aid are available to those on remedial courses.

The problem is MASTERY. If you master something, then YEARS later, you still can do it. I MASTERED riding a bike. I can still do it. I MASTERED algebra. Years later I can do it. I mastered basic Spanish. I did not master all the weird verb tenses. Years later, I can speak Spanish enough for parents to understand me, but I have to put everything in the present tense. Our college remedial courses are those brush up opportunities students need. They RARELY teach something a student never studied.

bootney farnsworth

February 27th, 2013
12:03 pm

what this is, is simple.

if they go into remedial ed, it means $$$$$$!!
-fed funds for remedial ed students
-longer they are in remedial, the longer they stay in college. the more student activities fees which can be collected.

bootney farnsworth

February 27th, 2013
12:03 pm

it really is just that simple.

Inman Parker

February 27th, 2013
12:21 pm

Easy money for the colleges. You pay full tuition rate for a class you get NO credit for, extending your stay in…..college.

catlady

February 27th, 2013
12:49 pm

When Portch was Chancellor of the SUS, remedial courses were only to be allowed at the 2 year levels. Has this changed?

OriginalProf

February 27th, 2013
1:26 pm

**Formerly Prof for more than a year, I find someone else has registered under that name with AJC–not me. So now Prof is OriginalProf.**

@ catlady. No, the USG 2-year colleges still handle those courses. Also, as of 2012, those applicants needing 3 or more remedial courses cannot apply to USG colleges/universities, which include those colleges. And Governor Deal’s changes to HOPE last year state that remedial classes are eligible for HOPE only at Georgia’s technical colleges—thus ruling out any HOPE support for such classes at the 2-year colleges.

mathmom

February 27th, 2013
2:03 pm

Original Prof, I thought the need for remedial courses was determined after acceptance. Do students take a placement test before they even apply? Or do just some students have to take placement tests, and when? I’m confused as to how they know (before they apply to a USG college or university) that they need 3 or more remedial courses.

bootney farnsworth

February 27th, 2013
2:36 pm

@ catlady

yup. remedial and learning support are nowadays shunted off to tech schools.
partly due to the need to boost their enrollment, partly to bait and switch the image of the BOR.

‘course, since I got kicked out by GPC on bloody monday, things could have changed. again.

catlady

February 27th, 2013
2:51 pm

So, it’s not like UGA is teaching remedial classes; it’s not like KSU is teaching remedial classes.

Do they include in “remedial” when you enter without the 2 credits in foreign language, or the right number of social science credits, or math credits?

catlady

February 27th, 2013
2:53 pm

With the two two year colleges with which I have experience, if you “tested into” remedial you REALLY NEEDED IT, so I am puzzled by the claims of these authors.

On a slightly different tack, I noticed that adult literacy students almost always tested into basic fractions first.

OriginalProf

February 27th, 2013
3:14 pm

@ mathmom. I got my information straight off the website for the USG, as part of the information they are now giving high school guidance counselors as of 2012. I suggest that you Google the site yourself to find out more: “USG admission requirements.” This site has links for “Admissions Information,” “SAT/ACT tests required for regular admission,” and “Learning Support Admission Requirements as of August 2011″ ["learning support" is their euphemism for "remedial."]

@ catlady. I don’t think that any of the 4-year colleges or universities are now offering remedial courses; and they haven’t since Chancellor Portch (sp?) created the two-tier colleges for the USG about a decade ago. I don’t know the answer to your second question.

@ Bootney. I disagree with you about the reasons for the change. It was done to raise the caliber of the 4-year schools, and believe me the faculty at such schools were very pleased. It improved our classes immediately because we no longer had remedial students holding the others back.

Matt321

February 27th, 2013
4:25 pm

I’m willing to believe the result, but the methodology seems flawed. From the article: “To determine whether all those students were really so unprepared for college-level work, Ms. Scott-Clayton examined the students’ actual high school and college credits earned and grades received. She found that 20 percent of students placed in remedial math and 25 percent of those placed in remedial reading were “severely misidentified,” meaning that not only could they have passed the entry college course in that subject, but they could have done so with a grade of B or better.” How do you determine, after the remedial course was already completed, how a student could have passed the entry college course if they hypothetically had not taken the remedial course?

I would reiterate that they are good points on the need for a refresher. I know they’ve changed math since I went, but from 9-12 grade I think what I did was called Algebra, then Geometry, then Pre-Calc, then AP Calculus. If I had taken an algebra test in the summer after I graduated, it would have been covering material I hadn’t studied in almost four years. Heck, I remember studying for the LSAT and GRE, which both covered algebra type stuff – you bet I needed some refresher on the algebra questions they asked, as 9 years or so had passed at that point. If I hadn’t done done test prep, I would have bombed the math sections of those tests – the equivalent of being placed in remedial math. Did I mention that I didn’t have to take any math in college, because I aced the AP Calc exam?

Kris

February 27th, 2013
9:02 pm

Now a little true story.
.I worked for the University system for 30yrs.
There is a little Junior college in N Georgia ( impersonating ) a 4 yr.
Their first year students who get trapped in their development studies program have a 85% drop out rate…. The charge is 4 credit hours for the Development class vs a regular Credit class is 3 credits… What’s sad is that 90% of the trapped students can probably pass regular math and English classes if given a chance.. The math test is rigged. Most college grads cannot pass it….So we get them through K-12 then what over priced colleges that only offer a paper Degree.

If Maureen wants to contact me I will reveal the name of the college.

OriginalProf

February 27th, 2013
9:09 pm

I’ve read the information about present rules covering remedial classes for students given on the USG website, and am not sure whether the dire figures given above are now accurate: in Georgia, 70,000 students every year take remedial classes at an annual cost of $55 million. In what year was that true? And will it be true after these changes by USG take effect, say by 2014 or 2015?

In 2011 and 2012, as I note above at 1:26 pm, the USG made some significant changes in the number of remedial classes that it would allow students to take at the 2-year colleges (none at the 4 year ones) as well as changes in the sorts of students it admitted. Those who seemed that they would need more than 2 remedial classes weren’t admitted at all—a big change. And the number of such classes covered by HOPE was lowered too.

As I recall, these changes were CAUSED by the figures given above, a reaction to the high number of college students taking remedial courses (who maybe didn’t belong in college in the first place) and the waste of taxpayer dollars in supporting them and the cost of such remedial courses.

It was about the same time (2010) that the state’s funding formula for USG schools changed from being based on enrollment figures to being based on their 6-year rate of graduation. I think that this too was a way of pressuring USG public schools to give fewer remedial classes and to admit fewer students needing them.

@ mathmom. To answer your question above more specifically: the student is placed in remedial classes in USG schools according to the scores they got on their SAT/ACT tests and their Freshman Index score. If those scores are too low then they have to take the ACT Compass placement test, which rates them in Reading, English and Math. If their scores are too low on Compass, then they’re ineligible for admission. High school transcripts don’t seem to enter into it.

OriginalProf

February 27th, 2013
9:16 pm

@ Kris. I don’t think this little scam will work much longer for that anonymous Junior college, thanks to the 2011 and 2012 changes that the USG made. It must not really “impersonate a 4 year” to be offering remedial courses, no matter what those courses are called.

Lee

February 27th, 2013
10:29 pm

In years past, the marginal students in Georgia could attend college for a year without too much risk, thanks to HOPE. Many of those students were routed into remedial studies and many didn’t have a chance in hell of completing college.

As others have stated, remedial programs are a cash cow for colleges. They charge full tuition and staff the class with the lowest pay grade professor/instructor they can find.

Kris

February 27th, 2013
11:07 pm

@ Lee “”As others have stated, remedial programs are a cash cow for colleges. They charge full tuition and staff the class with the lowest pay grade professor/instructor they can find.”””

Another example of the remedial cash cow for colleges. Charging 4 credit hours for non credit (remedial math, English…etc) class vs. 3 credit hours for credit classes.
I’m sure there are other stories of wrong doings in the University system.

Public HS Teacher

February 27th, 2013
11:19 pm

Another take on this….

Why are so many people without knowledge trying to attend college? Our society should not push people to go to college – it is ridiculous. Higher education was never intended to be for EVERYONE.

It has become ‘big business’ and is fashionable to tell people that they are worthless unless they have a college education – BUNK!

Think of how many careers – great careers – require no college education….. electricans, plumbers, small business owners, and so on.

Truth in Moderation

February 28th, 2013
12:48 am

New research: Too many government dole researchers routed into costly irrelevant research when they only need a different career.

Tired and Retired

February 28th, 2013
6:34 am

If you really want to know if the mislabeled remedial student would have been able to pass a college level course without remediation, look at the unpublished and unobserved statistics. College students that sign up for certain remedial teachers know that they will pass without any effort but once they get into a college level course without an easy teacher, they fail and continue failing until they get help. I have been in the system for over 30 years working at a BOR two year college. At my small institution, all the teachers of college level courses especially English and Math could almost automatically point to their students that had rememdial courses from the “easy” teachers. These students still could not write a simple sentence with proper subject/verb agreement or punctuation nor do simple basic math skills. These are the true statistics. All too often we have those remedial instructors who want to keep their classes packed with students and get great reviews in RateMyProfessor. They also like all the awards the college gives them because the higher administration thinks they are doing a wonderful job for our students. Some even get promoted to adminstrative positions because of all their “good” work. The truth is they have watered down their courses to the point that a student can make an A without going to class. Do better research about remediation and you’ll be surprised by the real numbers.

mountain man

February 28th, 2013
6:39 am

“It has become ‘big business’ and is fashionable to tell people that they are worthless unless they have a college education – BUNK! ”

The problem is that when businesses want to hire a person who can do math, read, and write a comprehensible report – they have to insist on a college degree, A high school diploma no longer assures these things and we businessmen cannot be administering “entrance tests” to all prospective employees to gauge their learning. We require a HS diploma for the basic labor jobs, but for any management position, we require a minimum of a bachelor degree. It was not always like that, but the devaluation of the HS diploma has made it necessary. See what you get for your “social promotion” programs? People with undamaged egos but no viable commercial skills. AND you bring down the HS graduates who actually learned something.

Typical Obama Voter

February 28th, 2013
6:55 am

This is all George Bush’s fault.

bootney farnsworth

February 28th, 2013
6:57 am

no matter how you slice it, it still comes down to money. the longer a student is enrolled, the more fees can be squeezed out of them.

why do you think so many majors have two classes necessary to graduate offered once a year at the exact same time?

the least important issue in education is actually educating. with the advent of government as a major player in the business of education, the impetus to get students out quickly and efficiently is long gone.

bootney farnsworth

February 28th, 2013
7:06 am

@ Kris

your head would spin if you knew all the various scams “non profit” education engages in to make money. I know it did mine, and my career began long before the college hustle began in earnest.

I saw and knew of things if a regular business did them, they’d be investigated for fraud. Morris Brown -while extreme- is more common than most of us would like to think

during the Tricoli era at GPC, I know of several people who tried to make issue of questionable spending and related concerns. more than a couple of them found themselves laid off when the
monetary scandal became public.

Private Citizen

February 28th, 2013
7:20 am

Since the remediation courses do not carry credit, maybe they should be at half price.

I’m going to post this news link because this story need to be known. “Northern do gooders” huh?
“Couple Faces Felony Rap For Movie Sneak” http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/felony-for-sneaking-into-movie-687341

The thing I am not seeing in the comments is anyone concerned about the cost of using public money to make a felony of a $6.75 ticket to movie-hop, instead of being friendly about it and requiring the people to just pay for a ticket. The US sense of governing maturity is warped. With so much money being spent of punishing people, it is no wonder there are so little services. In rich countries with services, they tend to down-play punishing the public, and there is even a periodic general amnesty to cleanse the record books every few years. People do not have “a record” for life on infractions. It is a whole different sprit, “for the people” instead of keeping people down. This is really disgraceful, but it is also an example of how public money is used, and what is most noticeable to me is that in the comments there is not one person questioning how public money is spent, as it costs thousands and thousands of dollars to prosecute a felony. And for what? And yes, race or caste is significant. How many of you have movie-hopped in a theater? I did it once with a film studies student friend. What I learned is that the movies were terrible, every one of them. Probably one of the last times I went to a theater. Someone needs to make an online petition addressing these folk being done in this manner, or invite them to come live in Atlanta, or something. But things are not that simple for people rooted with families and such.
___________________

In a similar way, the college is predatory when “Students don’t realize what they’ve gotten themselves into until they’re halfway into the course” This type of authority arrogance is common now and it seems that the colleges are full, so they can be cold and arrogant in how they do things.

bill

February 28th, 2013
7:50 am

My daughter in law was required to go to a full year of remedial classes as she took regular classes and made the presidents list with a 4.0 at a local community college. It is about student count and income from financial aid. She could have graduated already but instead has a year and a half to go.

HS Public Teacher

February 28th, 2013
8:00 am

@mountain man –

I don’t disagree with you at all. The value of a high school diploma SHOULD be higher. There should not be social promotion. A high school diploma SHOULD mean that the graduate has basic skills and knowledge. We SHOULD NOT aim for a 100% high school graduation rate – not EVERYONE works hard to earn it!

I am a proponent for k-12 (I know this is off topic) to adopt the approach by many Asian Countries…. a student can only even enter high school if they pass an entrance exam after middle school. If they cannot, then they go off to a trade school to learn a craft or they can even go directly to the work force. This would save so much tax payer money and stop the silliness of forcing ’students’ that don’t want to be in school to be there.

Dr No No

February 28th, 2013
8:03 am

If the little dears only need a refresher course in math, then I would expect a lot of “A” grades in the remediation courses. where we see a lot of students drop out due to difficulty of the material, but no a large number of “A” grades. This reducing of standards is all part of the liberal agenda to make us all equal in our accomplishments, so that only personality is the determining factor in career advancement. Remember, a student can always waive the remediation course and take the regular course, remediation is only a recommendation, not a requirement.

The Truth

February 28th, 2013
8:08 am

This falls squarely on the shoulders of inadequate K-12 preparation. Students are taught to a test rather than what they truly need to know to be successful. Course material is created and delivered for the “dumbest kid in the room”. Worst of all, students are not held accountable, and critical thinking skills are scarcer in a public school classroom than qualified, dedicated, intelligent teachers.

Truth in Moderation

February 28th, 2013
8:24 am

@Public HS Teacher

I agree with your points. Discrimination against the craftsmen came with the advent of the assembly line. The wealthy industrialists needed to maintain control over the creation of goods. Initially, the craftsmen stood in their way. They had the skills to create the goods by themselves. If you look at ancient history, the craftsmen were protected and REVERED. They built the 7 Wonders of the World. I just recently had to call a plumber. The young man that did the work was pleasant, KNOWLEDGEABLE, and a diligent worker. I would highly recommend him to others. It turns out that he grew up in the ORIGINAL Clayton county, before politicians and SACS made a disaster of it. Gwinnett County’s super has a Technical School background. He’s been far more successful than the “gypsy” Broad super school trained ones that we have been blogging about.

“If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. (Ephesians 4:28, NLT2)”

Another View

February 28th, 2013
8:41 am

“Dedication and perseverance” do not mean that you know how to write an analytical essay using proper grammar. As a veteran professor at CSU, the study is dubious at best.

Another View

February 28th, 2013
8:44 am

@OriginalProf. Columbus State University offers several remedial courses.

bootney farnsworth

February 28th, 2013
8:57 am

one of the many games played is what are remedial courses called?
a clever name or course designation can make a remedial offering look very different

bootney farnsworth

February 28th, 2013
8:58 am

frankly, if you need remedial work you don’t need to be in college until you get it done.

Pluto

February 28th, 2013
9:02 am

As long as we operate under the false premise that all students have to go to college we will squander scarce resources that would be better directed to those students that have shown both a desire and propensity to learn. Remediation programs should have a desired goal for students to achieve and be paid for by those students.

Truth in Moderation

February 28th, 2013
9:03 am

Dr. Eugene Walker, here is some advice.
Get rid of your current lawyer and hire some BIG GUNS with a proven track record: SEC AGENTS.

Digger

February 28th, 2013
9:09 am

I would suggest remedial parenting classes, but alas, its too late.

Batgirl

February 28th, 2013
9:20 am

Mountain Man @ 6:39, I’m not sure that the value of a high school education is much less valuable than it has been in the past. I think one of the biggest differences is that more kids are going to college than used to. When I graduated in 1976, some of the smartest kids in my class went straight to work rather than to college. Most, but not all of these, were girls whose daddies did not see the value of educating a daughter. Attitudes have changed since then, and nowadays those same types of kids going to college rather than straight to work. The kids that you hire for basic labor jobs are the same ones you would have hired for that 30-40 years ago. If you want to hire smart kids straight out of high school, make it worth their while.

HS Public Teacher, amen! I’m all for lowering the drop-out age to fourteen. If a student sees the error of his ways later in life, he should be able to re-enroll in a high school/GED/technical training program to finish his education and get on with his life.

The Truth, remedial courses are nothing new. Again, I graduated in 1976, and I knew students who had to take remedial courses back then. No one was teaching to the test back then!

Pluto

February 28th, 2013
9:32 am

What I find equally alarming as underqualified students entering college in a remedial capacity is my high achieving students migrating to college fields of study that are not overly challenging and in demand as a career, i.e., art, drama, history and the like. Noble pursuits but at best they may end up lawyers, disturbing.

Jakob Johnson

February 28th, 2013
9:33 am

Doesn’t the research here make the very assumption that the colleges are trying to overcome. She simply assumes that high school grades are the best indicator of the students ability, ignoring the widespread view that grade inflation in high school is instead the problem to begin with:

“To determine whether all those students were really so unprepared for college-level work, Ms. Scott-Clayton examined the students’ actual high school and college credits earned and grades received. She found that 20 percent of students placed in remedial math and 25 percent of those placed in remedial reading were “severely misidentified,” meaning that not only could they have passed the entry college course in that subject, but they could have done so with a grade of B or better.”

In other words, according to this view, if the high school transcript says that the student can write well enough to pass a college English class, the student can do so.and only needs a refresher course. However, no evidence supporting this view is presented. Granted, it might be true, but it is yet to be tested.

Carlos

February 28th, 2013
9:54 am

Regarding, “a lawyer who works with one of the USG schools who said they were getting rid of school email accounts because emailing is beyond too many of the students’ writing skills.”

Nonsense. Students don’t like the Webmail tool now available on USG’s MS Exchange servers. AJC readers probably wouldn’t either. The best that students can do is set up forwarding of messages to their smart phones.

That being said, USG IT administrators aren’t free to search the field for the best software tool. Instead, whatever they choose must fit into a within-institution information bubbles created in an effort to maintain privacy requirements dictated by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Software choice becomes a federal case, literally, (Another expensive and unintended consequence of good intentions run amuck. In fact, the primary parties walled off by this Orwellian named law are parents who want to know their children’s grades. The Repubs in Washington D.D. had six years to fix this over-blunt law and didn’t.)

Mountain Man

February 28th, 2013
10:01 am

“The value of a high school diploma SHOULD be higher. There should not be social promotion. A high school diploma SHOULD mean that the graduate has basic skills and knowledge”

THANK YOU, HS Public Teacher! Finally, someone who really GETS IT.