Remedial classes rise nationally

Two studies released this year revealed that more incoming college students need to take remedial coursework âÄî but numbers at the University are down. âÄúDiploma to Nowhere,âÄù a national report released on Sept. 15, found that 29 percent of all students attending public four-year institutions nationwide have enrolled in remedial coursework. However, a study released by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) in April found reassuring results for the University. Data from the study showed the percentage of high school graduates who took at least one developmental course at the University within two years of graduation has been steadily decreasing. In 2005, only 7 percent took at least one of these courses, compared to 15 percent in 1999. Joe Nathan, director of the Center for School Change at the Humphrey Institute , said part of the reason is that the University âÄúhas increased admission requirementsâÄù over the past several years. Although Nathan didnâÄôt have specific dollar amounts regarding the University, he said remedial courses cost the overall MnSCU system about $10 million annually. The national cost, according to âÄúDiploma to Nowhere,âÄù was estimated between $2.3 billion and $2.9 billion annually. Professor Douglas Robertson , who teaches remedial classes in the math department, said the University still has âÄúa bunch of students coming inâÄù who are not prepared to take the departmentâÄôs college-level courses. âÄúFor those students, itâÄôs really important,âÄù Robertson said. âÄúThey canâÄôt go on to science or economics classes without these classes. So yeah, theyâÄôre needed.âÄù The classes donâÄôt count for transcript credit, but still count toward financial aid and scholarship requirements. Eric Gonzalez , a biology sophomore who is taking elementary algebra, said scheduling problems made him unable to take math for one to two years in high school. Former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, chairman of Strong American Schools, an educations reform group who put out âÄúDiploma to Nowhere,âÄù said the responsibility lies âÄúin the K-12 system to produce high school graduates that really have an educationâÄù that they can apply to their college studies. According to the report, nearly 80 percent of the remedial students had a 3.0 GPA in high school, and 59 percent of the students claimed their high school classes were too easy. âÄúWe are undershooting throughout the country in terms of the quality of education we are producing in high school,âÄù Romer said.