Serious Need For Remedial Classes in Tennessee Colleges

An increasing number of freshmen across the country leave high school without acquiring fundamental skills, requiring them to take remedial or development classes at college before taking courses that count towards their further education.

And in Tennessee, things are no different, with more than 70 percent of freshmen students require remedial or developmental coursework — meaning one of the four core courses they need is a refresher and won't count for credit, writes Julie Hubbard at The Tennessean.

So now, school officials are allowing high school students to work on their remedial math while earning high school credit to ensure that at college they are able to get on with college work. One pilot program through Chattanooga State is already showing results.

Tennessee has shifted remedial and developmental courses out of its four-year colleges and universities, as Patrick Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education says that providing remedial courses shouldn't be the priority for higher education institutions.

Callan said:

"We have to do it better, or these students will be left out in the cold.

"Students are sort of the victims of colleges and schools not getting their acts together, and giving a clear message on this is what you need."

Tennessee has the power to redesign remedial courses in the states after being awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Education in 2006. And, after the Complete College Tennessee Act in 2010, state policy changed to ensure colleges and universities better align their work with K-12 in order for more students to graduate.

THEC Director of Academic Affairs Mike Krause wants to see more community colleges have online remedial math courses.

He said:

"The remarkable thing is, you take a student in the fall who is at-risk and get them through, … you've completely changed the trajectory of that student's higher education career," Krause said.

Kelly Henderson, executive director of instruction for Metro Schools, said:

"We are definitely open to talking to someone about it."

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