Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Three Community College Presidents Address Challenges of Remedial Education

Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Three Community College Presidents Address Challenges of Remedial Education

Article excerpt

A recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education featured the responses of three community-college presidents to the query: How has your institution been affected by the large number of students requiring remedial coursework, and what are some of the measures taken in response to the situation?

Carole M. Berotte Joseph, president of Massachusetts Bay Community College told The Chronicle that the Massachusetts Community Colleges include a pledge to offer developmental courses as part of their mission statement. "MassBay sees developmental education as a crucial element in its work with students to ensure that they are ultimately able to succeed at the college level," she said. MassBay's commitment to open access and student success has led the institution to eschew self-paced lab-based courses (i.e., computer-assisted instruction) "in favor of holistic or integrated instruction that relies on combining reading and writing activities" and other "intensive community-based learning approaches" which promote thoughtful analysis and academic competency in students.

Four-year colleges statewide, including the University of Massachusetts system, have greatly reduced developmental course work, leaving the community colleges to take on the tasks of assessment, placement, tutoring, and support services essential to developmental courses. "Such initiatives are expensive and difficult to support at the current level of state appropriations" (p. 633), Joseph lamented. She also believes that, because so many of her institutions require developmental course work, it is apparent that community colleges should work with the public schools to assure that curricula and learning outcomes are in alignment and relay the same information about what is essential to prepare for collegelevel work.

The second respondent, Kathi Hiyane-Brown, president of Normandale Community College in Minnesota, also sees "gaps between high-schoolgraduation requirements and college-entrance expectations, especially in the areas of math and science" as a major challenge at her institution. …

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