While graduation rates are rising in Fort Wayne, Indiana, many graduates require basic skills classes in community college, reports the News-Sentinel. Seventy percent of new students require math remediation at Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne campus.
“In high school, math was my favorite class, and I always did well,” said Aaron Strebig, an aviation technology student. But he didn’t take a math course in 12th grade and had to take remedial math at Ivy Tech.
Most remedial students are recent high school graduates, not adults with rusty skills, says Karen Reilly, who runs the remedial program. The average age of a remedial student is only 20.
Dwayne Rivera, a 2009 graduate of South Side High School, is taking remedial math for the second time.
He said his struggle with and dislike for math goes back to elementary school, where he never learned his multiplication tables at South Wayne Elementary School.
. . . “I guess it’s me, too, because I could have taken the initiative to learn and ask questions, but I never did.”
Rivera hopes to earn a degree in criminal justice. But success rates are low for students who start in remedial classes.
Remedial students often don’t realize they’re not earning college credits. Cassie Miller was surprised to learn her remedial math classes won’t help her complete a nursing degree. “It upsets me that I’m paying for a class that doesn’t even help me (reach my degree),” she said.
According to the Alliance for Excellent Education, the nation loses about $3.7 billion a year because students do not have the skills needed to take college courses. That total includes $1.4 billion for the cost of remediation for students like Strebig, whose classes are paid for through federal and state grants, as well as $2.3 billion in lost earnings because these students are less likely to graduate from college.
Reilly thinks dual-enrollment programs, which let high school students take college-level classes for credit, will decrease the need for remediation. “Getting a taste of college gives students a better idea of where they need to be,” Reilly said.