Archive for Sunday, September 9, 2012

Higher education official says remedial course bill has become positive

September 9, 2012


— Higher education officials were less than thrilled during the last legislative session when House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, pushed for legislation to prohibit the use of tax dollars for remedial courses at state universities.

But last week, Kansas Board of Regents President and Chief Executive Officer Andy Tompkins said the law has become a positive.

“We’ve taken this very seriously,” Tompkins said. He said he believes the law has made university CEOs more focused on the experience of freshmen students.

“It gets everybody’s attention,” he said.

When O’Neal proposed the measure, the Board of Regents was officially neutral on the bill. But some higher education supporters were unhappy with the proposal, saying that some students are high achievers but may need help in one subject.

Most remedial courses at college are math.

As originally proposed, the bill also would have reduced the number of freshmen or transfer students allowed through the “exception window,” meaning they don’t meet minimum admission standards.

Later, that part of the bill was changed to allow the development of individual student plans for success for each school admitting a student through the exception.

Tompkins said he thought universities would have policies in place even earlier than the bill requires.

Remedial courses will still be offered, but state funds won’t be able to be used to pay for them, he said. He said the courses will probably be funded through tuition.


KS 5 years, 8 months ago

I took a remedial math class my freshman year in college. I didn't think I needed it, but found it to be easier than I thought and very well worth my time. BTW, it was a private university and I paid for it myself.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 8 months ago

Most universities have remedial programs. What's the big deal?

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

Well, I'd prefer that high school students get the education they're supposed to get, and need for college level courses.

If many entering freshmen need remedial courses, that's a sign that high schools aren't adequately educating their students, in my view.

chootspa 5 years, 8 months ago

People who need remedial courses aren't necessarily fresh from high school (in which case, I agree. The high school should be preparing them for college.) They're often adults returning to school or soldiers coming home to take advantage of GI benefits. Most people returning to school after a gap need a little refresher to remember what the heck a multivariate polynomial is, even if they did just fine in high school math.

But I'll also add the complication that not all regents schools have the same standards for what they consider a credit level math class.

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

I hadn't thought of that - it's a good point. But, of course, one could take such courses elsewhere before applying to a university, couldn't they?

It would be a little odd to be 45, and in high school again, though :-)

I've consistently argued that we need national standards that are consistent, to prevent the problem in your last paragraph.

chootspa 5 years, 8 months ago

You could take those classes anywhere, but that sometimes means applying to two schools, working out the financial aid for two different places, and possibly putting off your general studies when all you need is one course to get on track. Students have the option of taking the requirements over at juco and transferring them over, but it should be an option, not a requirement. It makes no sense to be so inflexible when it doesn't look like this was something that was abused before the law. It looks to me like the law was just enacted (like voter ID) to feed paranoia of the base about our school system.

While I'm in favor of national standards, I think we need to tread carefully on what standards we use and how we assess it. NCLB has been a disaster, and part of the reason why is because it's dumbed down our teaching into test prep and test taking instead of real education. We do need to make our education system more equal. There really is no reason why someone from the poorest district in Miss shouldn't be able to transfer to the richest district in Mass mid-year and still be at grade level in both places.

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

I'd need to see more details about who's taking the remedial classes and why.

But, from my limited experience, many people who graduate from high school aren't well enough educated.


Carol Bowen 5 years, 8 months ago

Remedial programs drain a department's resources, and I am not sure that universities would be the best place to offer the courses. Community colleges are more aligned with adult learners who need a refresher or just didn't understand the subject in high school. Universities tend to have "self help" programs. (My term for computer assisted instruction, computer managed instruction, self paced learning, and supportive tutors)

The_Twelve 5 years, 8 months ago

jafs, The Regents were informed of your comment about not "adequately educating" students at the JH and HS level several years ago, and they don't give a damn. BTW, any English course (ENG 101 and 102, for example) that must teach students how to use elementary punctuation is also "remedial." Then there are the geography courses in which students must take time in their first semester to learn to identify major river basins (Nile, Amazon, etc), continents, nations, mountain ranges.... Why don't students learn this in K-12?

Even the college prep course of which KU is so proud should properly be taught at the HS level as :"college prep." Duh, if students learned that they need to actually study in HS, then studying/reading/researching at the college level wouldn't be so difficult.

I've had to teach courses in which the students didn't even know elementary English grammar concepts.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 8 months ago

You can't teach what a person doesn't want to know.

oldbaldguy 5 years, 8 months ago

do they still do sentence structure diagrams in high school or junior high?

Dan Eyler 5 years, 8 months ago

When this first came up by Mike O'Neal the speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives it was attacked as mean and radical. Changes in education is necessary and this is a good first start it seems we all agree.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

"Changes in education is necessary "

Learning about subject/verb agreement obviously escaped you in HS.

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