The Remediation College

According to an article by Margaret Fosmoe in the South Bend Tribune, Indiana students are taking a lot of remedial courses:

About 70 percent of Ivy Tech students statewide require at least one non-credit remedial math or language arts class before moving on to courses for college credit.

Indiana’s Commission for Higher Education has started to compile annual reports tracking the performance of high school graduates in college. The reports show the number of graduates who attend an Indiana public college or university, and how many require remedial math or language arts courses.

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, the nation’s second-largest community college—and one of its more innovative —still forces most of its students to take remedial courses. They’re apparently not ready for college-level work.

“I’m not too crazy about it,” said Ivy Tech remedial student Stacy Osborn, who is 27 years old and doesn’t expect to earn any college credits until next spring.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education recently decided that in the next few years Indiana’s four-year schools will stop teaching remedial courses; all remediation will be subcontracted to Ivy Tech.

The trouble with this new remediation policy is that putting all remediation one place doesn’t really work. Experience has shown that forcing students to take remedial courses is a great way to ensure that they don’t finish college. It’s far more effective to simply integrate basic skills and extra help into for-credit courses.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer