Every year, thousands of adults, some high school graduates, apply to a community college. But first they have to take tests that assess their English and math skills. Nationwide, 60 percent fail at least one of the tests, according to the Community College Research Center.
Traditionally, those applicants have been required to take — and pay for — remedial or development courses to shore up their basic skills before they are allowed into college-level classes. Many never make it that far.
Such remedial education is a major contributor to lowering student retention at two-year schools. Less than 10 percent of remedial students graduate from a community college within three years, according to a 2012 report by Complete College America. It called traditional remedial education a “bridge to nowhere.”
“Frankly, the way we’ve been doing it isn’t very successful,” says J. Noah Brown, president and CEO of the Association of Community College Trustees. “Worst case, it actually discourages and creates barriers to students and can be, honestly, downright demoralizing.”
One reason is that many students arrive with higher expectations of themselves. <Read more.>