Catching Students Up Before They’re Behind

Career College Central summary:

  • Community colleges contend with a difficult reality: Many students show up unready for college-level work, and few of them catch up and graduate. To shift that status quo, as campuses around the country introduce new models of remedial, or developmental, education, some are trying to reduce the need for it.
  • The American Association of Community Colleges set a bold goal at its annual meeting this week: to decrease by half the number of students who come to college unprepared. In presentations on Sunday and Monday, administrators and faculty members shared ideas for how to do that, describing new partnerships with local school districts to offer the colleges’ remedial courses to high-school students. Catch them up, the thinking goes, before they’re behind.
  • William Penn Senior High School needs that kind of intervention, presenters from Harrisburg Area Community College said here. The college’s York campus, in south central Pennsylvania, sees more students from nearby William Penn than almost anywhere else. Ninety-two percent place into remedial reading, and 100 percent into remedial mathematics. “These kids are scoring in the lowest developmental levels that we have,” Marjorie A. Mattis, the campus dean, told an audience of educators from Kansas, Montana, Oregon, and Texas. “How long can we sit back and see these types of results and not do anything about it?”
  • Conversations with the superintendent produced a plan. Last year on a pilot basis and this year for all seniors at William Penn, English and math follow the college’s developmental curriculum.

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