Remedial Education Helps Students Achieve

Cassie Scott

The UW System will be examining remedial education to identify the best practices implemented at UW institutions.

“Remedial education is the term the UW System applies to the course used to remediate skills necessary for college level learning,” said Greg Summers, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Students can be placed in remedial classes, such as English or mathematics, if their placement test doesn’t achieve the minimum level of proficiency needed to be successful in that specific college course.

The Stevens Point curriculum only offers one remedial education course for their students.

“We are different than most UW schools. We don’t have a remedial education course for English. Our English department believes it is a better approach to put those students directly into English 101,” Summers said.

Since the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point does not have an English remedial course, there is only one course the school does offer for students who aren’t equipped for college level coursework. That course is Mathematics 90.

Ann Kiefer, a faculty member in the mathematics department and a lecturer of Mathematics 90 for the last five years, says the course reinforces skills used in upper level classes.

“I believe remedial education is necessary because students are able to develop skills that they are lacking in proficiency,” Kiefer said. “Math is something that builds off of itself. Students need to understand the basics to move forward.”Many of the individuals enrolled in Mathematics 90 are those who need to either relearn or refresh their algebra skills to solidify their understanding for future use.

“Students need to understand basic algebra skills so they can solve equations and apply their knowledge in other classes and in life situations,” Kiefer said.

In the UW System, about 24.5 percent of UW freshmen in Fall 2012 required some form of remedial education. Breaking it down further, 20.7 percent of those students required math remediation, 9.9 percent required English remediation, and 6.1 percent required both.

“On average, UWSP finds that about 9 percent of incoming first- year students require remediation in Mathematics,” Summers said.

Not all students participating in remedial classes are freshmen. Non-traditional students also take advantage of the class to help them relearn the skills they may have forgotten.

Mathematics 90 is not considered college level learning; therefore the three credits offered for taking the course do not count towards the completion of a student’s 120 college credits needed to graduate.

The class gives students the opportunity to bring their understanding of math up to entry level expectations to help students start their path towards a successful college career.

“Remedial classes bridge students into higher education, and help them achieve the skills needed for college level coursework,” Summers said. “The classes are simply designed to get students up to speed. If they aren’t equipped to succeed, we give them a class so they can.” 

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