Remedial Course Changes Show Signs of Success, Texas Officials Say

Aug 27, 2019 by

Two years ago, when Texas lawmakers reworked the way the state’s colleges and universities handle remedial courses, they hoped to find a solution that would help students who weren’t college-ready get up to speed in a way that wouldn’t derail their academic careers.

One year after the new model went into effect, higher education officials say they’re seeing early signs of success.

This year, Texas colleges and universities are required to place at least half their remedial students in a new, co-requisite style of remedial courses. It’s part of a larger effort to move the state away from a style of courses that experts say can slow students down and, ultimately, prevent them from graduating.

Under the old model, students took placement exams that determined whether they were ready for college-level work. If they were, they were placed into freshman-level courses. If not, they were placed in remedial courses that they were required to pass before being allowed to enroll in freshman classes. The remedial courses cost time and money, but students didn’t earn credit toward their degrees for passing them.

Under the new model, students take the same placement exam. Those students who don’t pass the assessment are placed in freshman-level classes along with their peers, but they’re also required to take an extra remedial class alongside those courses. Often, those courses look like a lab section that students take with a larger lecture course.

In Texas, that shift is already beginning to pay dividends, said Suzanne Morales-Vale, director of developmental and adult education for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Historically, prerequisite-model remedial courses have been a stumbling block for Texas college students, Morales-Vale said. In the years before the new model was implemented, about two-thirds of students who successfully completed remedial courses dropped out before they moved on to college-level courses. Only about 5% of students who were required to take three or more remedial math classes would ever enroll in a credit-bearing math class, she said.

Source: Remedial Course Changes Show Signs of Success, Texas Officials Say | Dallas Observer

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