Almost Half of Illinois Community College Students Need Remediation

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According to a newly released report from the Illinois State Board of Education, almost half of all community college students in the state require remedial courses before they can begin to complete a degree program.

Findings suggest that 48.7% of the almost 40,000 community college students in Illinois are in need of remedial courses in at least one subject, with the majority of students benefiting from extra math help. Educators feel the problem is one that can be solved before students make it to college by ensuring high schoolers enroll in the correct courses and that they are not slacking off in their senior year.

“Too many times students think ‘oh, I want to have an easy senior year’, and when they do that they don’t set themselves up for success after high school,” said Terry Ryker, Principal at Herrin High School.

Ryker adds that the problem is especially prevalent in math because it is not required by the state for all four years of high school. In order to correct the problem, high schools are beginning to partner with community colleges to look at what courses are needed for success down the road, reports Rachael Krause for WPSD.

This is the first year that data was reported by the Illinois School Report Card concerning the percentage of high school graduates who enroll in community college and need remedial help. 41.1% of students required an additional course in math while 16.1% required a remedial course in reading.

Officials say the data will help to identify additional areas students need support in prior to graduation.

“With the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test, Illinois is equipped to focus on the question of, ‘How ready are our children for what’s coming next?’ ” State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith said in a news release. “The postsecondary remediation data is an important tool to help us determine how much support our children need when they leave our care.”

Smith went on to say that the state could not afford to increase the amount of time and money currently being spent on educating students on skills they should have already gained during their K-12 years, adding that a new assessment system would offer a better picture of each students’ college readiness prior to graduation.

Remediation, or developmental education, is meant to better prepare students who are deemed to be not yet ready for college-level courses in the core subjects of reading, math, or science.

Although students must pay tuition costs to enroll in remedial courses, they do not receive college credit for completing them, writes Madhu Krishnamurthy for The Daily Herald.

Remediation data found by ISBE does not include the rates for students in four-year schools or those enrolled in schools in other states. In addition, it does not include students who did not continue their education after high school graduation.