Education Fail: Large Percentage of College Students Rely on Remedial Courses

The school systems fail to prepare most students for their first year of college.

By: Amanda Anderson

When we think of college preparation, I’m sure we can remember how stressed we were as we scrambled to do well on the SAT, excel in our classes, send off the perfect applications and letters of recommendation, and last but not least, pick the school that we felt would be best for us. This was a tough time and while most of us were pretty prepared, new research is indicated that most students aren’t nearly as prepared as they need to be academically. So just what exactly are the reports saying?

According to the Department of Education, in the 2007-2008 academic school year, one third of students had to enroll into remedial courses during their freshman year. The organization also reports that the number rises to 42% when it comes to public two-year schools.

The problem stems from the fact that states aren’t being honest with their student academic abilities. When the states say that the students have an acceptable grade-level mastery of reading and math, they simply are not being truthful. And since reading and math are two courses that Freshman must take in their first year, the only classes that they can take that will sharpen their their lack of knowledge in these areas are remedial courses.

According to the National Curriculum Survey of college professors, 65% of professors do not believe the states are adequately preparing the students for higher education.

And contrary to belief, standardized exams don’t seem to help very much. Students may do exceptionally well on a state standardized exam, but the score is much lower than what is expected on a collegiate level.

President Obama is trying to work with educators and governors of every state to develop tougher academic standards for all students. By doing so, the President believes the United States can become more competitive in education. A final proposal for the initiative could come sometime in the summer.

But until then, the heavy emphasis on standardized exams continues to cause educators to focus less on preparing students for higher education, and more on high test scores.

It is clear that our school systems are truly failing the students. These statistics are sad and demonstrate that we have missed the bigger picture when it comes to providing quality education. College may not be a cake walk, but no student should have to enroll in remedial classes if they were provided a quality education.


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