State, schools working to curb number of remediation courses in college

By: Taylor Temby Email
By: Taylor Temby Email

Many high school graduates are looking forward to college classes in just a few months, but for some, class may be a like high school. More and more Colorado students are taking remedial courses once they get to college.

Whether it's reading, writing or math, the Colorado Department of Higher Education says more students are having to take a step back and re-learn some subjects, which can be costly for students and the state.

Students go to college to move forward, but more and more first time students are having to take a step back.

The number of high school grads in a remedial class for the 2010-11 school year increased to 31.8 percent. That's according to the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

"[Students are] having to get up to a level which is allowable for them to take that college level course," Colorado Department of Higher Education’s Chad Marturano said.

That includes students in School District 51. The report shows Fruita Monument and Grand Junction High had around 33 percent of first year grads at Colorado schools taking a remedial course. Palisade and Central were higher, with up to fifty percent of students taking at least one remedial class.

Colorado Mesa University has students that have to take remedial classes, but right now, it isn’t a requirement.

"We don't force them in, we say to them, 'We strongly encourage you to take one of these courses,'" CMU president Tim Foster said.

"Public institutions in the state are working to figure out how to better serve these students in terms of delivering that remedial education," Marturano added.

The state and schools are looking for solutions, like going to high schools and helping students get up to speed before they step foot on a college campus.

"We actually send faculty from our community college out to those campuses to [help high school students] do that remedial work their senior year," Foster said.

College students don't get credit for remedial classes because it isn't college level work, but they're still paying for the classes.

"We need to look to get that dollar amount lower by making sure kids are college ready," Marturano said.

Reducing remediation classes will benefit the students, and allow them to get that much closer toward getting a degree.

"They don't have to pay for that course, and it saves them time," Foster said.

CMU has also requested higher admission standards. The school says this would allow the school to provisionally admit students and require them to take these developmental courses if need be, rather than make it an option in the future.

The Colorado Department of Higher Education estimated remedial courses for the 2010-11 school year cost students and the state a combined $46.5 million.

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