Fewer Colorado college students are taking remedial classes

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. "It's frustrating; I mean I know I needed to take it," said Isah McKenzie.

Isah McKenzie's thoughts are like those of many students who find out they have to take a remedial course before getting into the college courses that count towards graduation.

"For students who are starting college but might have some of their academic skills that they might need to brush up on a bit," said Dana Nunn from Colorado Mesa University.

Placement exams help determine where students stand academically and determine whether or not they need to take remedial classes in subjects like math, reading, and writing.

The Colorado Department of Higher Education's data shows a decrease in the number of students taking these classes over the past few years.

In 2012, 36.2% of incoming freshman who graduated from a Colorado high school and enrolled in an in-state university or college needed to take a remedial class; which is nearly 3% lower than the previous year.

"A few years ago there were some efforts in developmental education that involved having three different levels of entry," said Nunn.

But recently CMU and Western Colorado Community College did away with the three tiers and now only have one level for all subjects which CMU says has really helped students.

"It gets students in and out of developmental classes more quickly," said Nunn.

Remedial classes are costly as well since they aren't going towards the credits a student needs to graduate. During the 2012-2013 school year, institutions spent almost $19 million to offer these classes.

But it isn't just costing schools, students collectively spent $37.5 million to take these classes.

Having to take remedial classes can cause students to lose the motivation to stay in school, making them more likely to drop out when compared to students who didn't take a remedial class.

"It helped me get ahead and where I needed to be and really up to speed but unfortunately it didn't count for college credit," said McKenzie.

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