This article was originally posted on The Huffington Post on May 8, 2013.
Last February, The National Center for Education reported that 50 percent of the 3 million students who begin college annually require some level of remediation. This trend costs students, parents, institutions, and taxpayers nearly $7 billion a year, while remedial students fail to earn a single college credit.
The high volume and costs of remediation have policymakers and education leaders scrambling to stop this financial hemorrhage. While reform in remedial education is inevitable, the unintended consequences of swooping changes can be harmful to students, institutions, and the economy at a time when the U.S. is struggling to fill the 21st century workforce with high-skilled workers.
Who are remediated students?
A report released today by the National Center on Education and the Economy states that many community college career programs demand little or no use of math, and high school students are taking math courses they will likely never use. In reading and writing, the group noted incoming college freshmen had simplistic and academically unchallenging skills. Finally, NCEE discovered that very little writing is required of community college freshmen, and when it is, there are low expectations for making a cogent argument and employing basic rules for writing, punctuation, and grammar. The report calls for the bar to be raised if students are to succeed in college, career, and life. Some of these same patterns exist for freshmen admitted to open admission four-year colleges.