Tag Archives: Hechinger Report

Colleges rethinking who may need remedial education

24 Oct

Moi wrote about remedial education in Remedial education in college:

Whether or not students choose college or vocational training at the end of their high school career, our goal as a society should be that children should be “college ready.” David T. Conley writes in the ASCD article, What Makes a Student College Ready?

The Big Four

A comprehensive college preparation program must address four distinct dimensions of college readiness: cognitive strategies, content knowledge, self-management skills, and knowledge about postsecondary education.

Key Cognitive Strategies

Colleges expect their students to think about what they learn. Students entering college are more likely to succeed if they can formulate, investigate, and propose solutions to nonroutine problems; understand and analyze conflicting explanations of phenomena or events; evaluate the credibility and utility of source material and then integrate sources into a paper or project appropriately; think analytically and logically, comparing and contrasting differing philosophies, methods, and positions to understand an issue or concept; and exercise precision and accuracy as they apply their methods and develop their products.

Key Content Knowledge

Several independently conducted research and development efforts help us identify the key knowledge and skills students should master to take full advantage of college. Standards for Success (Conley, 2003) systematically polled university faculty members and analyzed their course documents to determine what these teachers expected of students in entry-level courses. The American Diploma Project (2004) consulted representatives of the business community and postsecondary faculty to define standards in math and English. More recently, both ACT (2008) and the College Board (2006) have released college readiness standards in English and math. Finally, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (2008), under mandate of state law, developed one of the first and most comprehensive sets of state-level college readiness standards….

Key Self-Management Skills

In college, students must keep track of massive amounts of information and organize themselves to meet competing deadlines and priorities. They must plan their time carefully to complete these tasks. They must be able to study independently and in informal and formal study groups. They must know when to seek help from academic support services and when to cut their losses and drop a course. These tasks require self-management, a skill that individuals must develop over time, with considerable practice and trial-and-error.

Key Knowledge About Postsecondary Education

Choosing a college, applying, securing financial aid, and then adjusting to college life require a tremendous amount of specialized knowledge. This knowledge includes matching personal interests with college majors and programs; understanding federal and individual college financial aid programs and how and when to complete appropriate forms; registering for, preparing for, and taking required admissions exams; applying to college on time and submitting all necessary information; and, perhaps most important, understanding how the culture of college is different from that of high school….

Students who would be the first in their family to attend college, students from immigrant families, students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups traditionally underrepresented in college, and students from low-income families are much more easily thrown off the path to college if they have deficiencies in any of the four dimensions. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/What-Makes-a-Student-College-Ready%C2%A2.aspx

The difficult question is whether current testing accurately measures whether students are prepared for college.

Jon Marcus for the Hechinger Report, a nonprofit based at Teachers College, Columbia University that produces in-depth education journalism writes a guest post for the Washington Post, Many students could skip remedial classes, studies find. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/college-inc/post/many-students-could-skip-remedial-classes-studies-find/2012/02/28/gIQA5p5rgR_blog.html

https://drwilda.com/2012/03/04/remedial-education-in-college/

Caralee J. Adams reports in the Education Week article, Community Colleges Rethink Placement Tests:

College-placement tests can make or break a student’s career. Yet few students prepare for them, and there’s little evidence to suggest the tests even do what they’re designed to do.

Now, some community colleges are looking for alternatives. Some are switching to high school grades or revamping assessments, while others are working with high schools to figure out students’ college readiness early so they have time to catch up if necessary….

To get a quick snapshot of incoming students’ knowledge, community colleges commonly use the computer-based Compass by ACT Inc. and the College Board’s AccuplacerRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader. Results are used to determine which courses students can enroll in as freshmen. When students fail those tests, they are put in developmental or remedial courses and often don’t get out. Concerns over the placement process are rising as new research challenges its predictive value and student success continues to lag.

The national nonprofit Jobs For the Future convened a group of experts on the issue last spring to discuss de-emphasizing high-stakes placement tests, changing those exams, and supporting students who are required to take them. “There are going to be multiple answers,” said Gretchen Schmidt, a program director at JFF in Boston. “This is part of a broader conversation about reforming developmental education. It can’t be considered as a stand-alone component.”

Down and Out

The push to get more students through college has policymakers looking closely at bottlenecks in the system. Developmental education is one of them. When students have to pay for classes, but don’t receive credit, it can be demoralizing and hurt their chances of completion.

About 60 percent of recent high school graduates at two-year colleges take a developmental education course. Students who go right into credit-bearing classes have a 40 percent chance of finishing within eight years, while those who take a developmental course have less than a 25 percent chance, according to research by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University.

While state policymakers are attuned to placement concerns, many institutions continue to use the traditional tests because they aren’t aware of the latest research and don’t view the issue as a primary problem, said Melinda Karp, a senior research associate at the center. “They say, ‘The test is imperfect, but I can’t do better,’ ” she said.

It is largely an issue at community colleges, which have open enrollment, as opposed to four-year institutions with selective admissions policies. Resources are stretched, and a widespread change would take time and money….

Some campuses are sticking with the traditional placement tests but ramping up preparation. This year, the Community College of Denver published a 20-page workbook for students to review the material on the Accuplacer test, and set up free tutoring sessions. For those who end up in developmental education, professors do a first-day diagnosis to make sure the students are in the right level and figure out what additional supports are needed…

Recent research by the Center for Community College Student Engagement found only 28 percent of students surveyed said they prepared for the placement tests with materials provided by the college. In the institutional survey, 44 percent of the 187 colleges that responded offer some kind of test prep. Of those, just 13 percent make it mandatory for all first-time incoming students.

There is growing acknowledgment that students shouldn’t take a placement test blindly, said Andrea Venezia, a senior research associate with WestEd, a nonprofit education research organization based in San Francisco. “If a student comes in and does worse than they thought, they may be told they have to wait a year to retake it,” she said. “Some are shopping around to retake it faster elsewhere. … It calls for a more systematic approach.” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/10/17/08placement.h32.html?tkn=MUNFXkTLgUahc5mu7MhJJJdFBUN3MwQGSxx%2F&cmp=clp-edweek

Complete College America has completed the report, Remediation: Higher Education’s Bridge to Nowhere which examines college remediation programs.

Here are the recommendations from the report, Remediation: Higher Education’s Bridge to Nowhere:

Students should be college-ready upon graduating high school. However, colleges and universities

have a responsibility to fix the broken remedial system that stops so many from succeeding.

Adopt and implement the new Common Core State Standards in reading, writing, and math. These voluntary standards, currently supported by more than 40 states, offer multiple opportunities for

states and sectors to work together to:

Align high school curriculum to first-year college courses;

Develop bridge courses; and

Create support programs to help students make a smooth transition to college.

Align requirements for entry-level college courses with requirements for high school diplomas. Academic requirements for a high school diploma should be the floor for entry into postsecondary education.

K–12 and higher education course-taking requirements should be aligned. Provide 12th grade courses designed to prepare students for college level math and English.

Administer college-ready anchor assessments in high school.

These tests give students, teachers, and parents a clear understanding about whether a student is on track for college. Giving these assessments as early as 10th grade enables juniors and seniors to address academic deficiencies before college.

Use these on-track assessments to develop targeted interventions.

K–12 systems and local community colleges or universities can develop programs that guarantee that successful students are truly college ready and exempt from remedial education as freshmen.

Use multiple measures of student readiness for college.

Recognize that current college placement assessments are not predictive and should be supplemented with high school transcripts to make recommendations for appropriate first year courses.

Have all students taking placement exams receive a testing guide and practice test and time to brush up on their skills before testing.ne this: Some statesuring that more

Citation:

2012 Remediation Report

Download:

K-12 education must not only prepare students by teaching basic skills, but they must prepare students for training after high school, either college or vocational. There should not only be a solid education foundation established in K-12, but there must be more accurate evaluation of whether individual students are “college ready.”

Resources:

States Push Remedial Education to Community Colleges http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2012/01/13/states-push-remedial-education-to-community-colleges

What are ACT’s College Readiness Benchmarks?                                http://www.nc4ea.org/files/act_college_readiness_benchmarks-01-14-11.pdf

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