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Possibly The Wrong Destination

According to new report, colleges spend around $2.5 billion dollars a year on students who need remedial classes to make up for what they didn’t learn in high school.

Analyzing federal data, the report estimates 43 percent of community college students require remediation, as do 29 percent of students at public four-year universities, with higher numbers in some places. For instance, four in five Oklahoma community college students need remedial coursework, and three in five in the giant California State university system need help in English, math or both.

The cost per student runs to as much as $2,000 per student in community colleges and $2,500 in four-year universities.

So, is the problem that students are not well prepared for college work in their high school classes?

Or that formal post high school academic work of the type students face in college is the not the most appropriate path for them?

Or a combination of the above?


  1. KarenR

    I taught one of these remedial writing classes at the university where I got my master’s degree and the answer was all of the above. It was a state university that had to accept state students no matter what their preparation. So, some simply had never learned about academic writing. Others were there because their parents/guidance counselors had pushed them to go to college when they were not ready and had no personal motivation. They took an entry level writing course and had three chances to pass. I had several students who were on their third try but I couldn’t tell if they had learned anything because they rarely turned in the assignments. They were just waiting to be kicked out. It was horrible and I felt sorry for them. However, some students thrived and after a semester were ready to move on to regular courses so the remediation wasn’t a complete waste of time. It points to the fact that we need to customize and individualize education at all levels; kids learn at their own pace and just because you’re 18 doesn’t mean you’re ready for college. For many students, it wasn’t really remediation, it was preparation. They just needed some more time to learn and practice and grow.

  2. Jim Gates

    A few years ago I was talking with an admissions officer at a local community college. She commented that, of the four categories of incoming freshmen (public school, private school, home school, and cyber school) the BEST-prepared students were ALWAYS the….

    drum roll….

    HOME schooled kids.

    Public school kids were the least prepared.

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