Colleges customize remedial courses to students
Posted: Wednesday, July 2, 2008 11:34 am
By: The Associated Press
The Messenger 07.02.08
CHATTANOOGA (AP) — Six colleges in Tennessee are customizing the remedial courses they offer to help students catch up on a specific subject.
Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, the work is tailored so that each student works on the most troublesome course area. That ended lecture-style remedial courses.
The head of the math department at Chattanooga State, Marilyn Brown, said she is already seeing positive results since the program began this spring.
The other participating schools are Cleveland State, Jackson State, Columbia State, Northeast State in Kingsport and Austin Peay State in Clarksville.
A member of the Tennessee Board of Regents task force redesigning remedial classes, Chattanooga State transitional studies director Saundra King, said students “don’t all need to start at the same place.”
Paula Myrick Short, the regent’s vice chancellor of academic affairs, said administrators will study progress in the three-year pilot program and determine how to make the new approach systemwide.
The first report showed encouraging results, she said.
“Students are having greater success and more students are receiving A’s that either didn’t complete or failed in the past,” she told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “We are seeing some really startling improvements.”
In the pilot program, students complete an assessment to identify the specific areas they need to improve.
Unlike traditional developmental programs, students are not placed in Math I, Math II or Math III based on a grade on a placement test or on ACT scores, she said. Student placement is based on their ability.
Brown said that in the past, students who failed remedial classes because they had difficulty with a few concepts had to retake entire classes, costing them much more money and preventing them from moving on in their education.