Eye on Education

Fewer Ohio Graduates Need Remedial College Classes

math flash card edited

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The number of Ohio graduates who need remedial college courses is declining, but only slightly.

A new statewide report shows 40 percent of high school students who got their diplomas in 2012 needed basic math or English classes when they enrolled in an Ohio public community college or university.

That’s down from 41 percent in 2011 and 42 percent in 2010.

While the decline is good news for Ohio (sort of), it’s twice the number nationwide.

A 2013 report from the National Center for Education Statistics shows 20 percent of all first time college students at a public institution enroll in at least one remedial course.

Experts say taking too many remedial classes can derail students from ultimately getting a degree.

“Time is the enemy for students,” says Mark Schneider, a fellow at the American Institutes for Research, a non-profit think tank based in DC.

“The longer it takes for them to complete school, the more likely that life will get in the way,” he says.  “So if you start in remediation and your first semester is all remedial courses,  none of which carry credit, none of which count toward your degree, you’re now adding a year to your education and during that time something bad is more likely to happen and that will derail your graduation.”

Schneider says the graduation rate can be as low as 10 percent for students who take a remedial class in more than one subject,

And he says that’s a lot of money wasted, when you factor in the taxpayer dollars spent on Pell Grants and other forms of federal financial aid that students use.

As the StateImpact Ohio team has reported, several efforts are underway to reduce the need for remedial college courses in Ohio.  Check out our previous coverage here.


  • OldWiseGuy-WiseOldGuy

    This would be a bit of good news if we also knew that more students overall were graduating high school and seeking college admissions. Serving more students and having them better prepared is a good story in a state that has one of the lowest degree attainment rates in the country. On the other hand, if more rigorous standards have an impact of causing fewer students to finish high school or seek education beyond a high school diploma, it is a wash – or worse.

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