Colleges spend nearly $7 billion a year on remedial education, according to federal data. Eight states — and many school districts — are offering “transitional” math and English courses to help students catch up and avoid remediation in college, reports Education Week.
Seventy percent of Tennessee high school graduates place into remedial math in college. Only five percent of community college students placed in remedial math earn a two-year degree in three years.
Chattanooga State Community College developed the SAILS model, short for Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support. High school teachers and community college instructors developed a self-paced math course for low-scoring students with college aspirations. Students learn online in a school computer lab with a teacher on hand. College instructors come in once a week.
The idea is catching on, reports the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia. Twenty-five states, and districts in another 13 states, assess 11th graders’ college readiness to give them time to improve in 12th grade. More than a dozen states are planning similar programs.
The transitional curricula being offered by states and districts typically consist of a course, a set of instructional units, online tutorials, or other educational experiences offered no later than 12th grade to students considered at risk of being placed into remedial college courses, according to the Teachers College report.
These programs are designed for students who don’t quite meet college-readiness benchmarks, but who aspire to college and need some extra instruction. Students take the transitional courses during the school day, usually for high school credit with the goal of entering credit-bearing college courses upon matriculation.
Tougher Common Core standards will reveal the “huge readiness gap,” said Megan A. Root, a senior associate with the Southern Regional Education Board. The SREB is piloting math and literacy courses for struggling high school students in seven states. The curriculum is available online for free.
Core to College, backed by the Lumina Foundation, Gates Foundation and others, is funding collaboration between colleges and high schools in 12 states. As states implement Common Core standards, they’re aligning expectations and assessments, so college-prep classes really will prepare students for college demands.
Collaboration between K-12 and higher education is very important, say school district and college leaders in an edBridge survey. However only a third say they collaborate effectively.