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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama education officials say more than a third of college freshman from the state needed remedial course work last fall.
Deputy Superintendent of Education, Sherrill Parris, told The Times Daily of Florence (http://bit.ly/12b6L0F) the amount of students who graduated high school and needed remedial course work factored into Plan 2020 – a statewide initiative to improve education over the next seven years.
Parris and executive director of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, Gregory Fitch, said standards requiring students to enroll in remedial courses varies between the state’s public colleges and universities.
The Department of Education would like to establish a standardized method to determine remediation needs, Parris said.
“That will give high school folks an idea,” she said. “If a student was making A’s, and then had to take remedial classes, obviously their high school course work isn’t at the level it needs to be.”
Superintendent of Decatur Schools, Ed Nichols, said he’d like to be able to tell prospective college students what each school considers remedial.
“We want to address this issue, but to do it we need to know what each college wants and how they are identifying folks,” he said.
Florence Schools Superintendent, Janet Womack, said students passing the Alabama High School Graduation exam to get their diplomas may contribute to a false sense of accomplishment. Womack says students passing the exam doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready for college-level courses.
Mary Scott Hunter, a state Board of Education member from northern Alabama, said the state has no clearly defined benchmarks to measure college readiness.
“We should not be passing students, we should not have social promotion, and students should be meeting every milestone and should be matriculating only after they meet the standards,” she said.
Officials say the need for remedial courses and some students having to retake the same remedial courses multiple times could jeopardize federal financial aid options with students paying for the courses but not earning college credit for them.