Higher ed remedial policies reviewed

Changes to the way Colorado institutions of higher education determine whether a new student needs remedial classes will be voted on by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education next month.

Remedial classes are English or math courses that do not count as college credit and are assigned to new students who a college or university determine need to “catch up” in order to work at college level in one or both subjects. In 2011-12, 40.2 percent of incoming Colorado Mesa University students and 81.7 percent of new Western Colorado Community College students were assigned to at least one remedial course. The same year, 47.4 percent of students who graduated in the class of 2011 from a District 51 high school needed remedial courses when they enrolled at a public college or university in Colorado.

The commission discussed the proposed changes to remedial policy Thursday at a meeting in Lone Tree. The three revisions to current remedial policy are:

1. To expand the types of assessments used to determine whether a student needs remediation from ACT or SAT scores and Accuplacer test scores to include results from state standardized tests and testing programs Compass and Smarter Balanced.

2. To encourage schools to consider tutoring as an alternative to remediation for a student who is just below the threshold for proficiency.

3. To shorten the amount of time a student’s assessment scores can be used to determine remedial class eligibility from five years to three.

Commissioners will vote whether to adopt the new policies at their next meeting, Dec. 5. State law requires the commission to revise its remedial education policy by Dec. 15.


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