College remediation courses don't always help, experts say

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ATHENS, Ga. -- College remediation courses are supposed to help students succeed in college, but in reality, remedial courses in Georgia’s two public college systems are holding students back, speakers said at the two-day Complete College Georgia Summit on the University of Georgia campus this week.

Administrators and teachers from colleges and universities around the state came to the two-day meeting, designed to boost graduation rates in the 25 schools in Georgia’s technical college system and the 35 in the university system.

Thousands upon thousands of students don’t continue in college because they don’t pass algebra. That’s crazy, said Uri Treisman, a professor of math and public affairs at the University of Texas in Austin. Most won’t need algebra in their future jobs, he said.

The structure of remedial courses doesn’t make sense, either, said Treisman and students.

Most remedial courses are like a continuation of high school — but high school in 1951, not today, he said. When students take a remedial course, they have to cover a certain amount of material in a certain amount of time, or start all over again in a new school term. But many become frustrated and just don’t return at all, he said.

“We’ve got to move past that,” he said.

Many students do need help to build up their skills, especially older students returning to college or vocational school, students said.

But remedial courses should be more targeted, several students said.

“As a non-traditional student, I feel I’ve come in at a disadvantage,” said Jazzmyn McKelvey-Hunter of Georgia Perimeter College. “Maybe we could get a diagnostic test requirement done so that maybe we could focus on where our deficiencies are.”

Older students often need help with technology such as computers as well as math or writing, said Sharon Yarbrough, a sophomore at Georgia Perimeter College.

“We want to succeed; we really do. Help remove those obstacles,” said Yarbrough.

Another student simply wanted to be able to get credit for work he’s done. Often, colleges won’t give students credit for courses completed at other colleges.

“I’ve lost several A’s because I’ve transferred from one school to another. That’s a disappointment,” said Dustin Ragus, a student at Georgia Highlands College.

State officials have already begun to take action on some problems identified by the students and the experts.

The state Board of Regents last week moved to give students like Ragus some help. The Regents voted to expand from 10 to 27 the number of basic college courses that automatically transfer from one college to another, no matter if the college is in the university system or the technical college system.

Other colleges are changing the way they teach remedial studies, for example, by identifying the specific areas in which students need to rebuild skills, said Dan Smith, the vice president for institutional effectiveness at Athens Technical College.

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rmwardsr
525
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rmwardsr 03/21/12 - 08:31 am
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Remedial classes are almost a

Remedial classes are almost a joke. The professors cover the material in a matter that resembles speed reading, and it just doesn't work.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 03/21/12 - 08:37 am
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You can see what's coming

You can see what's coming next:

Thousands upon thousands of students don’t continue in college because they don’t pass algebra. That’s crazy, said Uri Treisman, a professor of math and public affairs at the University of Texas in Austin. Most won’t need algebra in their future jobs, he said.

It will be very easy for colleges and universities to raise their graduation rates to almost 100%. Just make all classes pass/fail and don't fail anybody.

Little Lamb
46072
Points
Little Lamb 03/21/12 - 08:39 am
1
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Read again the headline of

Read again the headline of this story:

College remediation courses don't always help, experts say

How about this follow-up:

Conventional college courses don't always help either, Little Lamb says

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 03/21/12 - 08:43 am
0
1
If you need remedial courses

If you need remedial courses in college you should have been admitted in the first place.

itsanotherday1
43330
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itsanotherday1 03/21/12 - 08:47 am
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1. After dropping out of high

1. After dropping out of high school, I had a change of heart and decided to go to college. My remedial algebra was self paced, and passing was a requirement.

2. I can see it too; this is just the continued dumbing down of American students to accomodate those unable, or too sorry to learn.

3. Really Bruno? What should happen to people like me?

Bruno
780
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Bruno 03/21/12 - 08:50 am
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Community College would be

Community College would be the correct option.
I wasn't clear in my last post. I meant 4 year colleges or universities.

dstewartsr
20389
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dstewartsr 03/21/12 - 08:59 am
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One word: tutor. I had to

One word: tutor. I had to avail myself of one because as it turns out my math skills equal my singing ability and are slightly less than my charm. You do what you have to . . . or is that another concept that has gone by the boards?

itsanotherday1
43330
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itsanotherday1 03/21/12 - 09:11 am
0
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OK Bruno. It WAS community

OK Bruno. It WAS community college for me; no way was I prepared for university level work.

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