Dear Commons Community,
Citing two recent studies the New York Times editorial today questions the methods used for placement of incoming students into remedial courses in community colleges across the country. Specifically the editorial recommends:
“The Obama administration is rightly pushing colleges to raise graduation rates and to make sure that more students graduate on time. To help achieve those goals, the community college systems that enroll about 11 million students need to end the practice of shunting students who are prepared for college into non-credit remedial classes that chew up financial aid while making it far less likely that they will ever graduate.”
The editorial comments that the problem is underscored in two new studies from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College that examine remedial education policies at two unnamed systems: one large urban community college system and one statewide community college system. The studies, which look at tens of thousands of students over several years, found that more than a quarter of those assigned to remedial classes based solely on standardized test scores could have passed college-level classes with a grade of B or better.
This issue will surely become more pronounced in the next couple of years. On one side will be community college faculty and administrators who administer and teach remedial courses who will defend the current system and any change as an attempt to water down requirements and standards; and on the other side will be those who want to accelerate/improve college completion rates. However, there is also a twist to this on the part of the US Department of Education whose policies call for unbridled testing of students in the K-12 schools to insure standards so how does it now frame a call for relaxing testing and standards at the community college level.