A new report released today by Complete College America (CCA) highlights the impressive success of an alternative to traditional remedial education used by the Georgia University System (USG). The report analyzes the results of 26,000 USG students enrolled in complementary support, an increasingly popular model replacing traditional remedial classes at colleges across the country.
This year, at least one million students entering university will be forced to take one or more prerequisite remedial courses in mathematics or English – sometimes both – because they scored too poorly on the exams. entry or standardized placement. Nationally, more than half of entering community college students will be told by their institutions that they are not ready for college math and English classes, and those numbers will be significantly higher for black and latinx students.
Instead of enrolling in a credit course, these students will be placed in prerequisite remedial courses, non-credit courses intended to help students with poor academic backgrounds to level up so that they can be successful in courses. credited and ultimately graduate.
An academic hurdle that students found not to be “college ready” must overcome, remedial classes must be completed before these students can enroll in an institution’s required “bridging” courses in these subjects. While remedial classes will not count towards graduation, students will still be required to pay tuition fees for them.
As well intentioned as they are, remedial lessons are largely unsuccessful. This is what I called the California Higher Education Hotel; millions of students enter but never leave. Among the students in remedial courses, a significant percentage do not even complete one. And very few students who start in remediation ever complete the associated bridging course. Too often, remediation is simply a funnel to failure.
How many remedial students make it to the graduation finish line? The response is appalling. An initial study by the CCA showed that only 10% of remedial students in two-year schools complete their degree in three years; at four-year non-flagship universities, 35% of students who are due to take a remedial course graduated after six years. The results are even worse for minority students and low-income students.
The co-required approach
But there is a solution at hand. The CCA, an alliance of more than 40 states whose governors and education officials are committed to making college completion a priority, has, in cooperation with several states, developed an alternative called additional support. Research shows that this model can triple the percentage of students who successfully complete bridge math courses and dramatically increase the percentage who complete bridge English courses.
Additionally, with a co-requisite approach, Black and Latin students pass their college math and English courses near or above the pass rate for all students, effectively bridging institutional performance gaps that existed before the introduction of co-requisite support.
Here’s how the co-requisite support works. Instead of registering for a remedial course, students immediately register for bridging courses. But we don’t let them sink or swim. They receive additional assistance and support, just in time, along with the course itself.
This assistance can take various forms. For example, in the USG model, co-requisite students must take a co-requisite support course that includes one to three contact hours per week and is offered alongside the associated college course. The support course is designed specifically to help students master the skills and knowledge necessary for successful completion of the supportive college course.
After introducing complementary statewide support in 2018-19, the USG has now offered the approach to more than 26,000 students attending the 26 institutions in the system. They include small, medium and large colleges; open access and highly selective schools; community colleges; research universities; Historically black colleges and universities; and Hispanic institutions.
The results? Using the traditional remedial course sequence that characterized development education in the past, only 20% of USG students successfully completed a math bridging course. With further education, the percentage of mathematics bridge completion jumped to 66%.
The results are similar with English. Only 45% of those who took remedial English courses eventually made it through a bridging English course, but with the co-requisite approach the pass rate jumped to 69%.
While the USG found that students in all of the different variants of co-requisite support had higher pass rates than traditional remediation, it also found that participants – particularly black and Latin students – had higher success rates than traditional remediation. most benefited from having the same instructor for co-required support and college level. course and at least two contact hours per week for the co-required course.
Calling the results of the USG “remarkable”, the president of the CCA Yolanda Watson Spiva, noted. “All groups of students, including black and Latin students, students in poverty and first generation students, take bridging classes at the same rates. We are delighted with the results of this research and look forward to implementing additional strategies to benefit these student groups, along with USG and others.
As the evidence for the effectiveness of co-required approaches accumulates, two implications must be considered. First, states and institutions that do not use co-requisite methods now have the burden of showing why they cling to traditional remediation given the body of research that shows how poor student performance is. best in co-required models.
And second, as with education policy, further education comes in many forms, varying in intensity, class composition, and additional student support services. Its impact is also heightened when surrounded by other practices that increase students’ confidence and determination to succeed in college. It will be up to institutions to assess which combination of these practices works best for their students, and then to scale those measures.