An Emerging Issue in Higher Education

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An Emerging Issue in Higher Education, Part 1
Randy Bromley
Grand Canyon University
History and Politics in Higher Education
EDU-805
Dr. Sherion Jackson
October 26, 2011

An Emerging Issue in Higher Education
“In 2001, nearly one-third of first-year college students in the United States were required to take remedial classes (Bettinger and Long, 2009)” Post secondary remediation has become a debated subject. Opponents argue it wastes taxpayers’ money, diminishes academic standards, and discourages faculty, while proponents argue it satisfies an important and substantial niche in higher education, meets the needs of college freshmen, and yields higher graduation rates (Bahr, 2008). The National Education Writers Associations (National Education Writers Association [EWA], 2010) states remediation traces its roots to colonial times and outlines how Harvard University, in the 17th century, provided tutors for those considered less-prepared. Today, remediation takes many forms; testing to identify learning gaps, tutoring, modified curriculum, and no credit refresher courses. While the controversy continues, research by Bettinger and Long (2009) concludes that students who received remediation in math were 15 percent more likely to complete a college degree in four years and those in English remediation were 9 percent more likely to do so. In conclusion, remediation, also known as developmental education, skills courses, or college preparation courses, has become a hot topic. Opponents argue remedial education is evidence that today’s college students are academically weak and should not be admitted into colleges. Proponents argue remediation is necessary component of higher education; a tradition with deep roots, and helps students complete their degrees successfully. Remedial education, therefore, has become an emerging issue in higher education.

An Emerging Issue in Higher Education, Part 2
Randy Bromley
Grand Canyon University
History and Politics in Higher Education
EDU-805
Dr. Sherion Jackson
October 26, 2011

College Remediation: An Emerging Issue Providing remediation, also know as developmental education, is the principal way colleges manage students who do not have the academic groundwork or skills needed to prosper in the college atmosphere. Research has shown remediation is widespread with over one third of college freshmen taking remedial classes at a cost of over $1 billion each year (Bettinger & Long, 2009). Remedial education has become a political and much debated issue in the last ten years. Opponents argue the offering of remedial courses provides evidence that today’s college students are weak academically and are not suited for college level work, concluding these students should not have been admitted in the firs place (Bettinger & Long, 2009). From this point of view, opponents advocate that the presence of remedial courses infers that certain colleges have reduced their admission standards and successively have “dumbed down” classes so unprepared students can find their way through college (Howell, 2011). The opposing view contends that remediation is a necessary component of higher education, one with profound historical origins. These proponents contend that skills courses help students combine weaknesses in certain classes with strengths in others, stressing that most students who complete remedial education classes subsequently complete their degrees (Attewell, Lavin, Domina, & Levey, 2006). Furthermore, supporters contend policies that prevent students who need remediation courses from enrolling in four-year colleges could seriously diminish the possibility that such students would never obtain a degree. Supporters of developmental education therefore interpret the debate over remedial education as an attack on admission to college (Howell, 2011). Three studies were reviewed for this assignment, each addressing a different aspect of...
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