Stop Remediation Before It Starts
Ryan Reyna, Education Strategy Group
Success for youth in the economy increasingly depends on a postsecondary credential or degree. Nearly every new job created since the Great Recession requires education beyond a high school diploma. And yet, nationally, postsecondary attainment rates hover around 45%, with rates for students of color and low-income students substantially lower. Remediation stands as the most significant hurdle for closing postsecondary attainment gaps, especially for traditionally underserved student populations. There are significant efforts underway across the nation to reform remediation in higher education, but waiting to address the issue until a student matriculates is a significant missed opportunity. K-12 and higher education leaders must work together to create opportunities for students to “catch up” on their academic skills while in high school so that they can avoid remediation altogether and place directly into credit-bearing coursework upon enrollment in a postsecondary degree program.
Every state should take advantage of the 12th grade year to design and scale postsecondary “transition” courses that provide students opportunities to catch up on knowledge and skills they have not yet mastered, so that they can successfully enroll in credit-bearing coursework upon matriculation. Transition courses, offered in 12th grade, provide students who are at risk of being placed into remedial education an opportunity to demonstrate their postsecondary readiness while still in high school. The courses in mathematics or English language arts are co-developed by K-12 and higher education educators, thereby ensuring that they meet the level of rigor necessary for students to succeed in entry-level college courses. When transition courses are developed collaboratively, they provide a seamless pathway for students into courses that count for credit, setting them up for long-term postsecondary success.
For states looking to close their postsecondary preparation and attainment gaps, Education Strategy Group recommends the following:
- Co-develop 12th grade postsecondary transition course(s) to serve students likely to need remedial supports.
- Use multiple measures for identification of students to enroll in transition courses.
- Recognize completion of transition courses as meeting state graduation requirements.
- Communicate with students and families about the status of student transitions and the availability of supports.
- Develop and invest in a statewide strategy for scaling catch up programs in all high schools, starting with those serving large numbers of underserved students.
PATHWAY 2 TOMORROW
Pathway 2 Tomorrow: Local Visions for America’s Future (P2T) matches responsive and agile education policy solutions with the needs of states and local communities.
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