75% of Oregon Community College Students Need Remedial Classes


A recent study performed for the national Institute of Education Sciences has found that 75% of the 100,000 Oregon high school graduates to continue on to community college needed to participate in remedial classes upon arrival.

Portland-based researcher Michelle Hodara, who conducted the study, said that the graduates were ill-prepared for college life.  She added that race and income levels did not play a role in the need to take the high-school or middle-school level courses.

The most common remedial course taken was in math, with almost 75% of all graduates who attended community college taking a remedial math course.  The majority of those students tested into an introductory algebra class.  Less than one-third of the students who needed to take remedial math were found to have ended up taking and passing even one college-level math class.  This could be attributed to three terms of remedial math classes needing to be taken and paid for prior to entrance into college-level courses, writes Betsy Hammond for The Oregonian.

Of the high school graduates in the state who enter community college ready to participate in a college-level math course, the study found that 54% will earn a two-year degree or a career-related certificate.  However, less than one-third of students who enter community college needing to take remedial math will earn any type of credential within five years, according to the study.

In addition, it was found that more high school graduates of the state will attend community college than will go to a four-year university.

Hodara recommended that schools work harder to academically prepare their students for the work they will need to do in college.  According to the study, the best way to do this is through the passing of the state’s reading and math tests.

Higher education leaders in the state have been pushing for additional funding, arguing that due to declining state funding they have had to rely more and more on extra funding coming in from rising tuition rates, writes Jonathan Cooper for The Fresno Bee.

The presidents of all 7 universities and 17 community colleges in the state wrote a letter to legislative leaders, saying that too many people in Oregon cannot afford the rising cost of higher education.

“Like never before, Oregon’s public universities and community colleges are aligned to advocate the imperative of improved funding for higher education,” the presidents wrote. “Beginning to restore funding after a decade of disinvestment is the right thing to do for students and, ultimately, it is the right thing to do for Oregon’s future.”

However, according to the new state education budget, little extra money will be available for new or expanded programs.

“We are going to be largely addressing base needs, and there’s only going to be a modest amount of funding out there for quote-unquote new initiatives,” said Sen. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin. “In fact, I think very little, to be frank.”