Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Skimming the ten percent 

A little birdie has come through for me with answers to the questions relating to my post on remedial math. We took a look at the class of 1999, which admitted 2,546 freshmen. 456 took the basic math concepts tutorial and 320 passed it with a C or better. 54% of them graduated in six years. 273 took the intermediate algebra course; 161 got a C or better; 58% graduated in six years. (There were only 17 students who took both.)

One of the things that teaches is that if you can get them through these classes, there's a success rate there that isn't all that bad. (Our 6-year rate over all is in the 40s, so those passing the tutorial did better than average.) But consider the 248 students who didn't even have the ability to get through the tutorials. That's almost 10% of the enrolled new freshmen that year that could not get into the general education math course and graduate from the university, in whom we invest substantial state dollars. Should we charge back school boards for having students so ill prepared for college?

Joanne Jacobs notes the same type of ill-preparedness in California, where only 45% of new entering freshmen in the Cal State system needed neither English nor math tutorial coursework.