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No question, remedial education needs an overhaul. Millions of young adults get trapped in rudimentary math and English classes that don’t earn them college credits but still cost the same tuition. More than two-thirds of all community college students and 40 percent of undergraduates in four-year colleges have to start with at least one developmental education class, in the euphemistic jargon of higher education. The majority of these students drop out without degrees.
Some college systems are trying to change those statistics. California State University is eliminating its remedial classes and putting all of its freshmen in college-level courses this fall. Remedial classes have been optional in Florida since 2014. Many other colleges are reducing the number of students who are sent to remedial coursework by changing the rules that funnel students into these prerequisite classes.
But many educators have doubts about whether skipping remedial classes altogether is a wise idea for students who failed to master subjects in high school. One idea gaining popularity is something called “corequisites.” The idea is that students take two classes at once, one remedial and one that earns college credit. But there’s very little research to show that this approach works. One of the few corequisite programs to be studied is an “Accelerated Learning Program” at the Community College of Baltimore County, where the same instructor taught both the remedial and college material to classes limited to 10 students.
Read more about the remedial education trap by Jill Barshay at The Hechinger Report