Pushing Remediation Down

Joanne Jacobs reports that more public universities are pushing remedial students down to community colleges, who are pushing their functionally illiterate students to adult ed.

It’s about time.

Remediation is one of the great unreported education stories. As our educational policy pushes more and more students into academically respectable college transcripts, their actual skills are declining. I won’t say it’s all Jay Mathews’ fault, but his moronic Challenge Index didn’t help.

In high schools all across the country, students who don’t understand algebra are taking trigonometry or precalc, students who can’t read at a freshman level are assigned Antigone, and students who don’t know whether the March on Washington occurred before or after WWII are being encouraged to “think and write critically” about civil rights in America. It is to laugh.

Most students who can’t score 500 or higher on every SAT section (22 on the ACT) were not capable of college prep courses in high school and thus really aren’t ready for college. Logically, universities should impose a cutoff, with exemptions for students who demonstrate capability in other ways (AP tests, for example). But only 20% of African Americans and 27% of Hispanics score higher than 500 on any section of the SAT. You can see the problem.

More on this later.

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