Academic journal article Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession

Remediation and Course Repetition: The Domino Effect on Academics and Economics

Academic journal article Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession

Remediation and Course Repetition: The Domino Effect on Academics and Economics

Article excerpt


Global differences in nursing education have created the need for international standards and regulations (Baumann & Blythe, 2008). Student selection and success hinges on mathematical abilities and English proficiency (Du Plessis & Gerber, 2012).

Since the first test in 2000, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) has reported American students are below international standards for mathematics, reading, and science literacy (National Center for Education Statistics, 2012). These findings correspond with standardized testing used in colleges and universities to determine higher education readiness. Callan, Ewell, Finney, Jones, and Zis (2010) emphasized the disparity between college eligibility and readiness resulting in lower graduation rates and the need for students to take preparatory courses before credit bearing ones; this is remediation.

Standardized Aptitude Testing (SAT) and the American College Testing (ACT) are the predominant pre-admission college/university entrance examinations for American and foreign born students. The 2015 ACT report indicated 31% of the 1.9 million students who took the ACT did not meet the benchmarks which can have an appreciable impact on their higher education aspiration (ACT, 2015).

The Pew Research Center (Washington, DC, USA) is an independent charitable organization designed to inform the public of global and American trends based on polls and/or research (Pew, 2015). In 2011, Executive Vice President Paul Taylor stated, "There is real concern - growing concern - about affordability and value measured against cost" (Burnsed, 2011, para. 2). In a representative national telephonic survey of 2142 Americans 18 years or older, conducted in the spring of 2011, 57% indicated they believed the economic return on investment in education had questionable value (Pew, 2011). Since the 1980s the cost of an American college education at a private college has seen an increase of approximately 300%; $10,000 to $30,000 per year, or the cost of a college education is quadruple general inflation in the United States (Burnsed, 2011).

There is ample literature on the increasing number of students who require remediation in mathematics, science, reading, and writing to prepare them for the academic rigors of college (Boatman & Long, 2010; Handel & Williams, 2011; Khan et al., 2009; Parker, 2007). Although there have been investigations on the effects of remediation and success in passage rates of external standardized testing for registration and licensure as a registered nurse, such as the American National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) examination, there is inadequate information on the effects of remediation in relation to persistence and success of nursing students completing the requirements for a baccalaureate degree.

Approximately two-thirds of recent high school graduates enter college each year, many of these students are so severely academically under or unprepared for college-level material they are dismissed from the school. (Bettinger & Long, 2009). The ACT report issued in 2012 revealed 67% of high school students demonstrated academic readiness in English, 52% in reading, 46% in mathematics, 31% in science, and 25% were prepared in all 4 subjects (ACT, 2012).

Numerous articles have been written and studies conducted analyzing, dissecting, and explaining the pros and cons of remediation for college students (Attewell, Lavin, Domina, & Levey, 2006; Khan et al., 2009; Martorell & McFarlin, 2009; Parker, 2007; Tierney & Garcia, 2008). A common theme emerged in the literature, uneven secondary school curriculum and minimal standards for graduation from high school are key elements in the need for remediation at the college level. The consensus was, an appreciable number of students are not prepared for the intellectual demands of higher education and the discipline necessary to achieve acceptable grades. …

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