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More Colorado High School Grads Need Remedial Courses in College

More Colorado High School Grads Need Remedial Courses in College


      More and more Colorado high school graduates need remedial courses when they enroll at state-funded colleges, and bringing them up to speed is costing about $10 million a year, according to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

      The portion of graduates who need remediation rose from 28 percent in 2003 to 30 percent last year, the commission said. The subject area with the greatest increase was writing, up nearly 3 percentage points.

      Female students needed more help than male students, and minority students needed more help than White students, the commission said.

      Performance varied widely among high schools, even within the same school district, according to the report. In Jefferson County Public Schools, the state’s largest district, 22.7 percent of Chatfield High School students required remediation while 65.3 percent of Jefferson High School graduates did.

      Rick O’Donnell, executive director of the commission, said many students are not getting the high school courses they need to prepare them for college, creating additional costs for both the students and the colleges.

      “These students must pay extra tuition to take remedial courses that don’t count toward their degree. It is unfortunate that many students graduate from high school with diplomas that don’t prepare them for college,” he said.

      The CCHE said Blacks, Hispanics and American Indian students needed remedial instruction more often than Asians, Pacific Islanders and White students. In two-year community colleges, seven out of 10 first-time African-American students were assigned remedial instruction.

      Educators found students from low-income families needed less remediation, and said that was probably because fewer of them even tried to get into college.

      The report is part of a program that will require all students seeking admission to a public, four-year institution in 2008 to complete four years of English, three years of math, Algebra I and higher, three years of science and three years of social sciences.

      In 2010, the math requirement increases to four years and two years of foreign language will be required.

      Deborah Piwonka, a Jefferson County schoolteacher, told educators that income, race and gender are not as important as the dedication of teachers and parents fighting to ensure students get the education they need to get into college.

      “We also need administrators willing to take the heat,” she said.

Associated Press

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