Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Readiness worries for state’s public high school grads

by January 4th, 2012

Close to six of ten graduates of public high schools in Washington state who go on to community and technical colleges here have to take remedial, non-credit courses to be ready for their new college coursework, according to a report from the Washington Board of Community and Technical Colleges.

Of the 20,336 graduates of public high schools in Washington in spring of 2009 who then enrolled in an in-state community or technical college for the 2009-2010 school year, 11,623 or 57 percent had to take non-credit remedial courses, the report says. Math was far and away the subject in which most of those students had to remedial courses, followed at some distance by reading and writing.

The percentage of public high school grads requiring remedial courses is considered an important measure of performance and accountability. Colleges may require new students to take remedial courses because of achievement test scores or missing high school coursework or students may elect to take the classes on their own.

Hispanics and other students of color, excepting Asians, were most likely to have to take the remedial courses, according to the report.

The remedial, or “pre-college courses” cost time and money for the students who take them, and do not count toward a degree. Community and technical colleges in Washington, and the state’s CTC system as a whole, are making a “significant” effort to accelerate the pace at which students master key skills taught in these classes, while maintaining academic quality and standards, the report says.

A series of annual reports from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges shows that the percentage of enrollees taking remedial classes has been steadily inching upward in recent years.

In addition, the state’s Education Research and Data Center has an online hub of interactive reports which show remedial coursework data for every high school in the state.

Public Data Ferret’s Washington State+Education archive

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