Academic journal article European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences, The

Readiness: The Key Factor in Remedial Teaching and Learning

Academic journal article European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences, The

Readiness: The Key Factor in Remedial Teaching and Learning

Article excerpt


Remedial education (also referred to in the literature as developmental education for imparting developmental or basic skills) refers to courses taken on a college campus that are below collegelevel and mainly aimed at bringing students who were initially underprepared for college level education in writing and math up to the threshold for registration into credit-bearing courses (The Alliance for Excellent Education, 2011). The purpose of remediation is therefore to furnish the students with the key skills required to undertake university education. The students pay tuition and may access financial aid for remedial courses, but they do not receive college credit. Most remediation occurs in reading, writing and math and communication technology.

Studies have revealed that a large number of students entering universities and colleges are underprepared for the work at that level and therefore are in need of remedial or developmental education in English, Reading, Math and, lately, Information Technology. Haycock and Huang (2001), studying remedial education in the United States, place the numbers of those in need of remediation at 49 per cent of all freshmen entering 4 year colleges. The Alliance for Excellent Education (2011,p. 1) claims that "one out of every three students entering postsecondary education will have to take at least one remedial course" while Bettinger and Long (2008) estimate that by 2001, underprepared students entering post-secondary institutions in the United States were one third of the total number of students entering this level. At the USIU-Africa, for the eight semesters between Fall 2013 and Spring 2016, 5,278 (about 14%) out of a total of 37, 852 students admitted got remedial education in English Math, and Information Technology. These high numbers underscore the importance of successful remedial education in enabling these students to draw on the benefits that the knowledge, skills, and attitudes imparted at university empowers them with.

This paper identifies the cost of remediation, the lack of clarity in the concept and criteria of preparedness, lack of transition between secondary and post-secondary institutions in terms of what it takes to succeed in postsecondary work, lack of standardization of remedial assessment instruments and placement tests and what they focus on, and attitudes as the main factors that inhibit readiness for remedial education. It finally establishes that in spite of mixed thinking about the value of remediation, it is important in ensuring that students who would otherwise not have had university education do get it and go on to reap the benefits accruing from the knowledge, skills and attitudes that such education endows them with.


Everyone involved in remediation needs readiness or preparedness. Readiness is understood in this paper as willingness or preparedness. For the students, readiness can be understood as their willingness to take a course to enable them to gain the skills necessary to complete college-level courses and academic programs successfully, (Weissman et al., 1997). For the parent or sponsor of an underprepared student, readiness means a willingness to pay for a program seen to occur at extra cost and which does not count towards graduation of the student while for the taxpayer and government, readiness means willingness to pay twice - "first for students to learn material in high school and then again for students to relearn." (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2011, p.4). Concern with readiness is therefore not only limited to the student, but also involves related stakeholders like the sponsor and tax payer. The institution too, needs readiness to design and launch remedial courses and deploy teachers to teach a course that should have been assumed as a prerequisite for college work while teachers need readiness to teach courses amidst dismissive opinions expressed about their academic and professional standards. …

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