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Remedial ed rate high in Alabama colleges - Dothan Eagle: News

Remedial ed rate high in Alabama colleges

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Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013 5:27 pm

Making sure Alabama students enter college prepared for the course work they’ll encounter there is a problem for the state, and has been for a long time.

According to Alabama Commission on Higher Education data, nearly a third of first-year college students end up taking remedial reading or math classes. A sizable percentage must take both.

Greg Fitch has been the executive director of the Alabama Commission on higher education for nearly seven years, and in that time, the remediation rate hasn’t budged much. Fitch said the rate has remained fairly constant, at between 32 and 35 percent. Fitch said differences between K-12 and college curriculum, changing high school curriculum and various other issues contributed to the large number of students in need of remediation.

Locally, at Troy University, about 3,450 of the school’s 23,000 students had to take remedial math at some point last year, according to information released by the university’s office of university relations.

Fitch said that the issue of remediation is troubling for colleges because they must invest dollars and staff in providing remedial classes for students. That’s money that could be invested in other needs.

For students, the need for remediation ends up costing them money, as it results in them spending more time in college, adding to their overall bill and also causing them to exhaust Pell and other grants before they’re done with school.

Students in remediation may become frustrated with the need to take courses over again and leave school early, robbing the workforce of trained workers.

“You’re essentially paying for it three times,” Fitch said.

Fitch said getting K-12 curriculum aligned with what’s being taught in colleges and universities and providing teachers with adequate training to teach these skills would help mitigate the remediation problem.

The Alabama Department of Education is moving to address the remediation issue. State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice said in a press statement that the system is working to align graduation requirements with the expectations of colleges and to use student assessments that track skills required by colleges. By more closely align what’s being taught in high school with what’s expected in college, public K-12 schools can help their students make a smoother transition to post-secondary education.


The graph below shows how many recent graduates from local high schools attending their first year in college in Fall 2012 took remedial math and/or reading classes.

Ashford High School                47%

Cottonwood High School         46%

Dothan High School                  50%

Houston County High School    57%

Northview High School             39%

Rehobeth High School             50%

Wicksburg High School            37%

Abbeville High School             34%

Headland High School            43%

Geneva County High School     74%

Geneva High School                 41%

Samson High School                 32%

Slocomb High School               27%

Ariton School                           50%

Carroll High School                  41%

Dale County High School          56%

Daleville High School                31%

G. W. Long High School          40%

Elba High School                      45%

Enterprise High School            33%

Kinston School                         50%

New Brockton High School      57%

Zion Chapel High School          25%