CUNY leaders: 80% of freshmen need remediation, fewer than half return

Mar 21, 2017 by

Leaders at the City University of New York are examining ways to reform their remedial education system, including being less reliant on placement tests that might erroneously track some students towards remediation, and allowing students who place just below the cut-off to re-take the test. Administrators say roughly half of students who are allowed to re-take the tests pass the second time.

Other considerations include re-thinking curricular and course exit requirements.

CUNY administrators noted that while 80% of entering freshman required remediation in math, reading, writing or a mix of these, only half of students were ready to move out of those classes at the end of their first year.

A focus on promoting access for all students has highlighted the gross disparities in the preparation levels of some high school graduates compared to what is necessary for them to succeed in college. At CUNY and in other places across the country, campus leaders are reconsidering what courses are necessary for success. Does an English major, for example, need to pass algebra? In some states like North Carolina, however, legislators are making a push towards more stringent math instruction at the secondary level to better prepare students for college.

Given the persistent complaints from the workforce that college graduates are unprepared for life after graduation, it is likely that a combination of approaches will need to be in place to address the issue. On one hand, remediation is expensive and has been proven to deter students from persisting through college. Pressure is growing for institutions to ensure that students are not only admitted to college but are graduating, which means many may find themselves working to revamp remedial education as they tackle other barriers to completion.

Co-requisite approaches in West Virginia, Tennessee and other states has proven to have a measure of success. But it is also increasingly important for higher ed to increase collaboration with K-12 to make sure graduating students are prepared to succeed in college. In addition, approaches like the one CUNY is proposing, which looks at a student’s course grades and other indicators of success in addition to simply relying on tests, may also help decrease the number of students tracked for remediation and help boost the overall number of students graduating from college.

But its also important to consider how external factors might impact students’ preparation for or success in college. In New York City, 68% of students are non-white, but only 10% of these are admitted to the top high schools in the city. And according to a 2013 demographic report, just over 41% of students in the district speak a language other than English. These are important factors to consider when language barriers and cultural differences have proven to impact minority student performance on standardized tests, particularly since it is predominately this population of students entering into the CUNY system.

Source: CUNY leaders: 80% of freshmen need remediation, fewer than half return | Education Dive

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.