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Subject:

Conn. Post article

From:

Norman Stahl <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 8 May 2012 12:03:36 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (49 lines)

Bill would cut college remedial classes
Staff reports
Updated 01:55 p.m., Monday, May 7, 2012



DonnaJean Fredeen, dean of the school of arts and science at Southern Connecticut State University, is all about making sure students are ready for college work and helping them graduate on time.
She applauds a bill approved by both the state Senate and House, which would increase access to college-level courses at the four state universities and 12 community colleges. The bill passed in the House late Friday night in a 127-12 vote.
The bill would require schools to create a menu of supports so students succeed in the college-level courses.
"It's a noble goal," she said.
Like others, however, Fredeen worries about the time line.
The legislation will require colleges to have remedial support imbedded into beginning math and composition courses along with a boot-camp like readiness program by 2014. By 2016, the colleges will have had to work with high schools to make sure students leave ready for college level work.
"It is ambitious," said Fredeen.
The goal is to eliminate the remedial, noncredit courses academically struggling students pay to take without credit before being eligible for courses toward their degree.
At Southern, in New Haven, more than one in four students enters needing to take a remedial math course before they can take college level math courses for credit. At Housatonic Community College, in Bridgeport, the percentage needing remedial math is greater than 80 percent, said HCC President Anita Gliniecki.
"I totally agree that we do need to beef up the high school curriculum. They need to come to us able to read, write and do basic math. I am concerned about the quickness in which they want to shut down development education for high school graduates," said Gliniecki. "I hope I am wrong that by 2014 we end up with a generation of students unable to get in college and with no skills to get jobs."
National data indicates almost 30 percent of entering college freshmen must enroll in at least one remedial course.
The Student Advisory Committee to the Board of Regents for Higher Education opposes the bill. The members worry that some students won't be able to handle college-level courses without remedial classes and the bill doesn't set out alternative supports.
"We know the remediation system needs to be fixed, but this model does not provide the fix the legislators think it will," said Michael Fraser, a student at Western Connecticut State University and a member of the state's student advisory committee.
Fraser's group thinks changes should not be adopted until a small group tests them first.
One concern is similar to what high schools faced when they opened enrollment in advanced placement courses and eliminated prerequisites: that students won't keep up. Some people even said these students would lower the rigor of the class.
Beth Bye, co-chairman of the Committee for Higher Education and the Employment Advancement Committee, which sponsored the bill, said the current system needs to change because it does not work as it should.
Now, she said, only 13.8 percent of community college students who are required to take remediation courses end up getting a two-year degree or certification in three years. Bye said the concern that students who need remedial help will reduce the rigor of their classrooms is unfounded. That issue was raised when advanced placement courses were opened to all high school students in her hometown of West Hartford, but it's no longer an issue there.
Bye said the bill also addresses concerns about the federal government having reduced the time in which students can use their Pell Grant to 12 semesters. It helps students who can't spend time and money on noncredit remedial courses still finish their degree. Since it is two and a half years before the bill takes affect, Bye said the state's educational system should have time to create a menu of supports so the students will succeed in the college-level courses.
"This bill says that `high schools, you need to be sure your kids are college and career ready,' " said Janice Jordan, associate superintendent of Bethel public schools.
Jordan said a high school diploma should mean a student is college ready, with academic skills and attitude and disposition, such as being able to ask for assistance, being on time and doing homework. Remedial courses, according to Jordan, are often a waste of time for many students and cost them thousands of dollars before they receive any college credit.
Bethel has been working on this issue for a decade and helped design what is now a model program in the state.
High school juniors take the writing and math placement exams that Western Connecticut State University in Danbury gives freshmen. Then university and high school faculty plan curricular changes for the senior year of those students whose tests show they need help to become college ready.
At Southern, Fredeen said the university already offers help in its first year composition course and is examining how to do the same in math. It also offers an intensive college readiness program that it will strengthen this summer.
Gliniecki said there are still questions. Will imbedding remedial help in college courses water them down? Who pays for the intensive make up programs those truly unprepared students would receive?
"No other states do this to my knowledge," Gliniecki said.
Linda Conner Lambeck contributed to this report.




Read more: http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Bill-would-cut-college-remedial-classes-3538529.php#ixzz1uIKKp0e8


Norman Stahl
[log in to unmask]


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