Phi Beta Cons

How Well Does Remediation Work?

In today’s Pope Center piece, Jenna Ashley Robinson takes a look at that issue and concludes that the answer appear to be, “Not very well.”

Even with the low standards that prevail in many colleges and the pressure on faculty members to keep as many students as possible moving toward degree completion, the percentage of students who have to take remedial courses who eventually graduate is only around 17 percent. That isn’t stopping some of the lower-tier UNC institutions from spending more money on remedial programs, however.

In my own experience, weak students usually have two problems. They have serious educational deficits from years of educational  neglect and also serious attitudinal problems. A remedial English or math course might help enough for a focused and motivated student to get up to academic speed if the ground to be made up isn’t too great, but many of the remedial students simply don’t have the disposition and habits of mind necessary to do so.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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