Putting Education Reform To The Test

Feedback Loop: Remedial Response

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The majority of students who took the Florida college placement exam in 2010-2011 were not ready for college.

This week we started our series in partnership with the Florida Center for Investigative Journalism looking at why so many students in the Florida College System require remedial classes before they can start on their degree.

The classes cost money, students receive no credit and they lengthen the time it takes to earn a degree. Most students who end up in remedial courses do not finish their studies.

It’s something reader Laury Rodriguez is familiar with. She shared her struggles with remedial college courses over at the FCIR site.

I was placed in a remedial math class two levels below regular college credit math class only because of a few missed questions on the entrance exam to college. I got B’s in math throughout high school and scored on-level or above level on the fcat. The remedial class requires you to pass an exit exam with a 85% or higher. You get one try, I got a 79% so I automatically failed the class. This happened again in the spring. Of course I feel discourage and I have thought of giving up my entire college career since I cannot get my degree without getting my college credit for math, and I still have ANOTHER remedial class to worry about. I feel low and sometimes I even get angry when I see kids that are done with all their math credits when I haven’t been able to get ANY math credits and it’s my second year in community college. After the second try at a failed class, you get automatically charged out of state tuition. I worked full time over the summer to pay for another credit-less class. I feel VERY cheated and Im in the process of leaving community college and going to a technical school. It’s very upsetting.

CollegeProf has seen the problems first-hand. College Prof says the shortcomings are not just knowledge, but also the inability to approach college work in a focused manner:

 As a college professor at a Florida school, I see thislack of readiness every day. I teach composition and literature, and very few of the students in my classes, young or old, are ready to write a college level paper. Why? Because they are not required to write papers in high school. And if they are, there is NO attention to citations or format. Research is sketchy at best and they are essentially taight to plagiarize under the guise of “paraphrasing” but not citing the source of the idea. Then they don’t understand WHY they turn in their first American Literature paper and earn an F. They are also conditioned to “extra credit” as a way to replace a bad grade. They are shocked when I tell them that EXTRA means over and above the requirements. It’s not a get out of jail free card. They also do not understand fixed due dates, late work not being accepted, or the fact that C work is GOOD. It is the average. If they want A’s the work must be FLAWLESS and go above and beyond the minimum requirements for an assignment. It’s not just about teaching the subjects. It is about teaching the discipline and attention to details required in academia which, in turn, also apply in professional discourse.

Reader twiga50 says there are problems with Florida primary schools, but the test created to address them is not a solution:

While I agree there are shortcomings in K-12 education, the CPT/PERT test is, itself, also somewhat flawed. Testing “college readiness” midway through their 11th grade? Last I checked that isn’t the doorstep to graduation. Also, Florida K-12 students are tested to death. When the PERT test comes around it ‘doesn’t count’ if a student has the ACT/SAT scores to be exempt, so there is little motivation for them. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying this is an excuse, but one part of the equation to be qualified a little.

Out series continues Monday with a look at why math has persistently been the biggest problem for students entering Florida colleges. Thanks for reading and keep letting us know what you think.

Reader reaction is an important part of building StateImpact Florida’s education coverage. Feedback Loop will be a regular feature highlighting your questions, criticisms and comments.


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