DPI, Higher Ed talking about reducing remedial classes | Prairie Public Broadcasting

DPI, Higher Ed talking about reducing remedial classes

Sep 27, 2016

K-12 education is working with the state’s colleges and universities to reduce the number of remedial classes college freshmen have to take.

The Department of Public Instruction says the effort has been dubbed “Choice Ready.”

"A piece of that is helping our students make the right choice for themselves," said state school superintendent Kirsten Baesler. She said the goal is to get students on the right path for life after high school.

"Do they want to go to a four-year school?" Baesler said. "Do they want to go to a technical school and get a certificate? Do they want to join the military? Or do they want to get into the workforce right away? Our responsibility is to make sure they have the knowledge, the skills and the disposition, so they are prepared to do whatever they choose to do."

Baesler said the transitional years – from elementary to middle school, and middle school to high school, are important for students to determine what career path to explore. She said the students can then set a class and interest schedule to match those goals.

"The last thing we want to see a student have happen to them is at the end of their senior year, they decide this is the choice I want to make, but look back and say, 'I really didn't take the courses to prepare me for this,'" Baesler said.

A member of the state Board of Higher Education said he’s concerned about the number of students who have to take remedial classes when they come to the state’s colleges and universities.

Mike Ness was the school superintendent in Hazen. He said students should be prepared when they come to the college. But Ness is also concerned about graduation rates. And he said a lot of that is getting students in the right programs to start with.

"I'm concerned we have students going to college because their friends went there, or their mom told them to go there, whatever it may be," Ness said. "Not because that's a good place, or a good fit for them."

Ness said college is too expensive to take on student loans, then fail after two or three years. He said students should be encouraged to look at two year schools as an alternative. And he said e believes the two year schools should handle remedial courses.

"I think the four year colleges are for the students that stay there, not taking remedial classes, and who can get done in four or five years," Ness said. "That would be my goal."