Fewer Colorado Students Needing Remedial College Courses


For the third year in a row, Colorado has seen a decrease in the number of high school graduates who need to take remedial classes before being allowed to participate in college-level courses.

Published by the Colorado Department of Higher Education, the annual report found that 34.2% of high school graduates from the class of 2013 were required to take a remedial course for at least one subject.  That percentage has dropped from 37% the year before, and 40% for the class of 2011.

“We are celebrating the second year in a row of a drop in the number of Colorado students who need remedial courses,” said Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. “We all look at the state’s remedial rate as a key indicator to how well Colorado is preparing our students for college and career.”

Remedial courses do not offer students college credit, which has many education advocates concerned, as they argue that students who need to take them take longer to graduate and spend more time and money on classes, writes Yesenia Robles for The Canon City Daily Record.

The report also discovered that minority students were much more likely to need to participate in remedial courses.  Of black students who attended a 2-year institution, 80% were required to take at least one remedial class, while 50% of black students who went to four-year schools were found to be in need of the extra help.

Of Hispanic students, 69% of those attending a two-year school needed remedial courses, and 36% of those who went to a four-year school needed at least one remedial course.

The report also found that 51% of white students attending two-year schools needed to take at least one remedial course, as well as 17% at four-year institutions.

According to the report, there are a number of areas that still need improvement.  For example, students who attend a four-year college are currently less likely to need to participate in a remedial course than students who attend a two-year institution.

“We are still not where we need – or want – to be, but we are heading in the right direction,” Garcia said.

The report found that of the subjects which students most needed to take a remedial course in, math came in first at 51.2%, writing followed at 31.2%, and reading came in third at 17.6%.  Across the state, students had enrolled in a total of 51,874 remedial courses, with 32,115 passed, or 62%, reports Caitlin Hendee for The Denver Business Journal.

Meanwhile, the state would like to see 74% of jobs require a college degree by 2020.  Officials in the state are working toward this goal by pushing for more STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – graduates, in order to fill the increasing need across the state for tech-savvy individuals.