About a quarter of West Virginia public and private high school students who graduated in 2017 and enrolled in the state’s public colleges in fall 2017 were required to enroll in remedial education classes.
That’s down from the 31 percent rate of college-going 2016 high school graduates who had to enroll in remedial education classes in fall 2016.
These percentages don’t include graduates who didn’t go to college the fall after graduation or went to out-of-state colleges or went to in-state private colleges.
These percentages, according to reports presented Monday to a legislative committee, include students in several different types of remedial education classes, including boot camps and courses that serve to teach students things they should’ve learned in high school while simultaneously letting them earn college credit.
“The students are immediately placed into a college-level course and then are given the required academic support,” said Corley Dennison, vice chancellor for academic affairs for the state’s higher education oversight agencies, of these “co-requisite” courses.
But the percentages don’t include students in “college level courses taught over two semesters, specifically designed for underprepared students.”
About 27 percent of Kanawha County 2017 graduates [the county level data doesn’t include private school graduates] had to take either math or English remedial courses, or both, down from 35 percent for the 2016 graduates. For Cabell County, the figure was 34 percent, down from 39 percent, and for Putnam County, the proportion was 20 percent, down from 27 percent.
The difference between counties was vast for 2017 graduates, ranging from only 4 percent in Monongalia County and 5 percent in Mineral County to 62 percent in Pleasants County and 66 percent in McDowell County.
Roughly 18 percent of Kanawha 2017 graduates had to take English remedial courses, the same as for 2016. For Cabell, the amount was 18 percent, up from 16 percent, and in Putnam, it was 14 percent, up from 13 percent.
The English remedial education rate for 2017 graduates ranged from 0 percent in Preston County and 1 percent in Mineral and Taylor counties and 2 percent in Harrison and Monongalia counties to 41 percent in Pleasants and 44 percent in Mingo County.
About 15 percent of 2017 Kanawha graduates had to take math remedial courses, down from 28 percent for 2016 graduates. For Cabell, the proportion was 26 percent, down from 31 percent, and for Putnam, it was 10 percent, down from 24 percent.
The math remedial education rate for 2017 graduates ranged from 3 percent in Monongalia and 5 percent in Mineral to 59 percent in Pleasants and 60 percent in Gilmer County.
Also vast is the gap between the percentage of four-year college students having to take any type of remediation, 17 percent, and community college students, 64 percent.
A statewide policy dictates which students are eligible to enter college math and English courses and which students must have remedial education. Students can currently avoid remedial courses only through sufficient standardized test scores, like the ACT and SAT, but the policy is currently under revision.
Students need to take remedial math if they score below 19 on the math section of the ACT or below 500 on the math section of the SAT (they can achieve one or the other to avoid it). A student who scores below 18 on the English section of the ACT or below 480 on the English section of the SAT needs to take a remedial course in English.