Phi Beta Cons

Another Try at Remediation

If college students need remedial work, it should be done at community colleges. So it’s good to see those colleges try to improve their remediation. But how successful can it be?

One new example is an experiment conducted by the community colleges of Tennessee and described in Inside Higher Ed. Instead of having unprepared students take a semester-long non-credit remedial course in math or language (the usual approach) before they can take most introductory courses, they take the for-credit introductory course along with a “co-requisite” remedial course.

Thus, in 2015, 51 percent of the students passed the introductory math course (statistics), compared with only 12.3 percent when they had to go through two hoops – the non-credit remedial class and the statistics class after that. In writing, 58.7 percent of the students passed, compared with 30.9 percent under the traditional arrangement (non-credit course followed by a college-credit course).

So this is progress. But the schools had to provide two courses at one time for the unprepared students, which was costly. The greater efficiency (fewer dropouts) made up for those costs, say those who studied the program. However, (as one of the Inside Higher Ed commenters wondered), how will they do in the next course, when they don’t have the academic remediation class to rely on?

The North Carolina Community College System is also experimenting. There, one active proposal is to move community college remediation to the high schools. Now that’s getting closer to the source of the problem.

Jane S. Shaw — Jane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Building a National American Conservatism

It seems like just yesterday that I undertook my first campaign for public office. I knocked on virtually every door in the small city of West Miami in my bid to be elected to its city commission. It was during that campaign, on the front porches and in the living rooms of the families I would ultimately ... Read More

Confirm Pompeo

What on earth are the Democrats doing? President Trump has nominated CIA director Mike Pompeo, eminently qualified by any reasonable standard, to be America’s 70th secretary of state. And yet the Senate Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer, have perverted the advice and consent clause of the Constitution into a ... Read More
PC Culture

People Are Losing Their Minds Over Starbucks

We can all easily imagine circumstances in which a manager of a coffee shop or restaurant might properly call the police to ask them to remove loiterers. These are places of business. There’s nothing wrong in principle with calling the cops on non-customers who are taking up space. And there’s nothing wrong ... Read More
PC Culture

The Dark Side of the Starbucks Stand-Down

By now the story is all over America. Earlier this month, two black men entered a Starbucks store in Philadelphia. They were apparently waiting for a friend before ordering — the kind of thing people do every day — and one of the men asked to use the restroom. A Starbucks employee refused, saying the restroom ... Read More

Save the Eighth

There are many things to admire in Ireland’s written constitution. Most especially, the text includes, since a popular referendum in 1983, the Eighth Amendment: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to ... Read More