Much attention has been paid to academic remediation over the past few years. According to the Community College Research Center, high schools in the majority of states administer 11th grade placement exams to measure college readiness. Most states also offer 12th grade transitions curricula—courses to remediate college-unready students before entering college.
The California State University’s Early Assessment Program (EAP) identifies college-unready high school students and offers senior year transitions curricula in follow-up. In its first years, the EAP reduced students’ odds of developmental placement by six percentage points in English and four percentage points in math.
Chattanooga State Community College’s SAILS program has achieved similar success. The program expands the modified math emporium model the college adopted for its remedial students into high schools, giving students a chance to work through math coursework at their own pace. As a result, SAILS students are three times more likely to place into college math than in the past.
Together, early readiness assessments and transitions curricula significantly reduce the need for college remediation. In fact, these best practices have made academic remediation a settled science. Moving forward, the challenge for college leaders is to balance investments in academic readiness with noncognitive student supports.