Connecticut Sets Remedial Education Limit

It’s common for brand new college students to have to take remedial courses to before they are ready to attend class at the college level. These courses are designed to help students who would otherwise be lost and unable to keep up in a college-level course catch up to college-level topics. The problem is that remedial courses don’t count as college credit, so students who need these courses end up spending more money and more time trying to earn their degree.

The amount of time spent taking remedial courses varies for each student. Some don’t need any, some may spend a semester taking them, while others may spend their entire first year of college in remedial courses, which increases the total amount of time it takes to earn a degree. For many students who need remedial courses, this is a major deterrent, causing them drop out before earning a degree, or simply never enroll.

Efforts are being made in Connecticut to reduce the amount of time and money students spend taking remedial courses, in an effort to increase college retention rates. The Connecticut Mirror reports that a bill has been approved by the state legislature which will require post-secondary institutions in Connecticut to limit remedial courses to no more than one semester.

Currently, standardized college entrance exams are the main determining factor as to whether a student needs remedial courses, how many that student needs to take, and in what subject areas. Students who test poorly in certain areas are not able to enroll in college-level courses until they complete the required remedial courses. Part of this bill is going to establish more than just an entrance exam to be used to evaluate students because many feel that these exams to don’t accurately predict how a student will perform in college, according to the Connecticut Mirror.

On the other side of the issue, many college and university professors argue that limiting the amount of remedial courses that a student is allowed to take may hurt some students because once they begin their second semester, they will have no other option but to enroll in college-level courses, whether they are ready for them or not. Students who have not been adequately prepared for college in high school may need more than just one semester of remedial courses to reach the college level of education, so this bill may be setting these students up for failure, the article notes.

Currently, only 15 of the 189 state representatives and senators voted against the bill, so despite the opposition and waves of emails trying to sway the state legislature, the bill passed by an overwhelming majority. The limited remedial enrollment is scheduled to take effect in the fall of 2014. A few years from that date will reveal whether this adjustment to remedial education will have a positive or negative effect, or any effect at all on college retention and graduation rates.

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