2012.03.28 Russell Griggs: A need for remediation?

Written by David Green.

There has been an outcry from the Ohio Department of Education concerning students going to college needing remedial coursework. They blame schools for students “not being prepared for college.” They throw around the claim that “40 percent of students going on to post-secondary studies require remedial coursework.”

They, ODE and others, leave out a few facts related to the remedial numbers. First, they only include students attending Ohio public colleges and universities. They do not include students attending private colleges and universities, nor do they include students going out of state. Second, colleges and universities do not have a common standard for remediation. Remediation may be as much a factor of where the student is attending higher education as their actual ability. Third, the colleges and universities do not indicate how many of the students requiring remedial help were below the admission standards of the school. Some admit students below their standards, only to label them as needing remediation. Then they charge them to take “remedial” courses that do not count toward graduation.

I recently attended a regional meeting in Bowling Green where this topic was discussed. When questioned why the Board of Regents and ODE use a measure which is so flawed, the response from the state superintendent was it is the number we have, so we will use it. 

Using Modern Math, the following example is possible:

Ten graduates from a small high school go on to college. Four go to Ohio public colleges. Two are identified as requiring remedial work. Six go to private and out of state colleges. None require remediation. The state will report that 50 percent of the graduates of the school district require remediation. Two out of ten equals 50 percent. The actual percentage is 20. 

There is a simple answer to the remediation question. If the students are not prepared for college, don’t accept them. If the admissions standards are known, the students wishing to attend will achieve at those levels. In some cases the only requirement to attend college is a checkbook or credit card. 

– Russ Griggs, superintendent

Fayette Local Schools

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