Developmental Studies – the Beginning or the End?
|An Innovative Alternative Solution
What Is Remedial or Developmental Education
|Remediation and Degree Completion
Developmental Education and Student Success
The Real Cost of Remedial Education
ReadyMATH is ideal for students in Developmental Math at the college level.
Developmental students don't do well when left on their own to learn – they need and want more support. Students don't object to the control imposed by ReadyMATH – they respond well to it.
With ReadyMATH, no student is allowed to fail
A very high percentage of students simply don't succeed with the traditional classroom approach where too much burden is placed on them knowing how to succeed. With ReadyMATH, everything is designed to make it much easier for students to succeed. In fact, they are required to succeed. The impact of the success on the student is dramatic. Experiencing success on a regular basis results in much greater satisfaction with the learning process and much higher levels of confidence, motivation and engagement.
ReadyMATH is a fully automated web-based math curriculum and instruction system that transforms the one-size-fits-all approach of the traditional classroom into a personalized process to meet the specific needs of individual students, each with unique content needs and capabilities for learning.
Remedial education refers to classes taken on a college campus that are below college-level. Students pay tuition and can use financial aid for remedial courses, but they do not receive college credit. Most remediation occurs in reading, writing and math. Within and among states, "remedial" often is used interchangeably with the terms "developmental" and "basic skills."
Methods vary among postsecondary institutions for determining which students are placed in remedial education. Some use national college admissions exams, such as the ACT or SAT, to determine if students are eligible to enroll in college-level courses. Other institutions require students to take a placement exam, such as Accuplacer or COMPASS, before they register for courses. At the end of the exam, the students are given a list of the courses they should take, based on their performance. The scores students must achieve to place into college-level courses vary by institution in some states (e.g., California) and are standardized in others (e.g., West Virginia).
- The need for remediation is widespread. 34 percent of all students at public colleges and universities enroll in at least one remedial course. The number is higher at community colleges; on average, 43 percent of students require remediation. These estimates are considered conservative—percentages are much higher at some colleges, and other estimates indicate that in some states more than 50 percent of students require remediation.
- More than 80 percent of students in Oklahoma's community college system were enrolled in a remedial course in 2007.
- 70 percent of students in Indiana's community colleges needed remediation in 2005.
- Of the 40,000 freshmen admitted each year into California State University— the largest university system in the country — more than 60 percent need help in English, math, or both.
- Non-traditional adults comprise a significant portion of remedial students. Community colleges have become a significant resource that offers opportunities to retrain laid-off workers, re-educate older students, and teach English to recent immigrants. Some of these enrollees are likely classified as "freshmen" and may be taking courses that are considered "remedial."
- Low-income, Hispanic, and African-American students are more likely to need remediation than their wealthier, white peers. 41 percent of Hispanic students and 42 percent of African-American students require remediation, compared to 31 percent of white students.
- Students are not testing at college-ready levels on national assessments. Only 24 percent of students who took the ACT met the test's readiness benchmarks in all four subjects (English, reading, math and science) in 2010. A mere 4 percent of African Americans and 11 percent of Hispanics met the readiness benchmarks in all four subjects.
- Remediation is costly for states to provide and for students to take. Strong American Schools estimates the costs of remedial education to states and students at around $2.3 billion each year.
- Compounding the costs is the fact that remedial students are more likely to drop out of college without a degree. Less than 50 percent of remedial students complete their recommended remedial courses. Less than 25 percent of remedial students at community colleges earn a certificate or degree within eight years.
- Students in remedial reading or math have particularly dismal chances of success. A U.S. Department of Education study found that 58 percent of students who do not require remediation earn a bachelor's degree, compared to only 17 percent of students enrolled in remedial reading and 27 percent of students enrolled in remedial math.
According to a student opinion survey, 64 percent of students enrolled in remedial education had to take more than one remedial course. And students from low-income families are more likely to take remedial courses than students from high-income families. African American, Native American, and Hispanic students are also more likely to take remedial courses than white students. And first-generation college students are also more likely to need remediation.
But perhaps the most worrisome thing about remedial education is that students who enroll in these classes are much more likely to drop out. Of students from the high school class of 1992 who enrolled in college and took no remedial education courses, 57 percent earned a bachelor's degree within eight years. Of the students who enrolled in one or two remedial courses, only 29 percent graduated with a bachelor's degree, and of those who took three or four remedial courses, just 19 percent received a bachelor's.
The sheer number of students requiring developmental education in math or English incurs significant expenses not only for the students who pay tuition but for states and the colleges as well. Although the precise costs of developmental education are unknown, remedial courses represent a cost that taxpayers must pay twice—first for students to learn material in high school and then again for students to relearn that material at the postsecondary level.
Because too many students are not learning the basic skills needed to succeed in college or work while they are in high school, the nation loses more than $3.7 billion a year. This figure includes $1.4 billion to provide remedial education to students who have recently completed high school. In addition, this figure factors in the almost $2.3 billion that the economy loses because remedial reading students are more likely to drop out of college without a degree, thereby reducing their earning potential.
A number of components comprise the high price that colleges, students and their families, and taxpayers pay to get students "up to speed" for post-secondary education. Colleges must pay faculty to teach the remedial courses; provide the classroom space; and supply a variety of support services, including counseling, administrative support, parking, facilities maintenance, etc. Often, because of trade-offs required by limited space and resources, schools must reduce the numbers of non-remedial courses offered to students, courses which would provide greater benefits to the community and its economy.
Through tuition, students and their families directly pay only about one-fifth of the overall cost of remediation. That relatively small portion totals approximately $283 million in community college tuition alone, but it is not the only cost. Another factor is students' time, which could be more productively spent taking college-level courses that would advance their goals and increase their earning potential. And because many colleges offer no credit for remedial courses, students are expending energy on study that, while necessary, delays the quest for a degree.
As indicated, the size of the market is very large and the cost is very high.
ReadyMATH is well positioned to address this opportunity and do it on a large scale through the ed2go college and university partnerships.
- Traditionally developmental studies courses are offered on the academic side of a college campus.
- A student does not get academic credit for a developmental studies course, but may receive institutional credit.
- The political and budgetary environment in public education today is forcing colleges to discontinue offering the courses from the academic side and move it to the continuing education departments if not completely off campus.