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Mississippi Community Colleges Streamlining Remedial Courses

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 21 Jan 2014 06:41pm | comments
Members of the committee listen to a presentation.

Mississippi's community colleges have streamlined their remedial courses in an attempt to save students and the state time and money. M-P-B's Jeffrey Hess reports lawmakers have been looking for ways to reduce the amount the state spends on students who arrive at college not fully prepared....

Mississippi's 15 community college are now combining uncredited remedial course work with credited classes in an attempt to help the student's graduate more quickly.

Jesse Smith, the president of Jones County Junior College, told the joint house and senate Universities and colleges committees that they eliminated six developmental courses and will to steer more students into full-credit courses, accompanied by a special tutoring lab.

"A lot of the times we see that an under-prepared student, not that they don't have the aptitude but that don't yet have the attitude of applying what thy have to a certain task at hand," Smith said.

The colleges also have agreed to set a standardized threshold of an ACT score of 17 to determine which students need development classes.

Some legislators see spending on remedial education as paying twice for knowledge students should have gained in high school.

Chair of the Universities and colleges committee Senator John Polk of Hattiesburg says lawmakers could also change some scholarships to steer students with lower A-C-T scores into the community college system.

"One of the bills that I have introduced will say that if you don't have a 20 on your ACT that to receive the MTAG scholarship, which is a state scholarship, you would have to attend a community college first. Prove yourself there and then be able to move to a four year with the MTAG scholarship," Polk said.

The concern about remedial education has reached K-12 educators.

State Superintendent of education Carey Wright says just 14-percent of Mississippi high school students are taking advanced placement classes, which contributes to students needing remedial work.

"Our families are spending 35.5-million dollars a year on courses that children have to take in college for remedial work. They don't get credit for it. And it is costing parents money, and it is costing students money and it is costing valuable time," Wright said.

Lawmakers have long wanted to reduce the cost of remedial education which cost state 25-million dollars at community colleges and 10-million at universities in 2010.

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Members of the committee listen to a presentation.


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