Four major national organizations have released a joint statement on principles for reforming remediation. The statement urges colleges to place more students directly into college-level coursework and to develop accelerated approaches to supporting under-prepared students.
Jointly developed the by the Charles A. Dana Center, Complete College America, the Education Commission of the States, and Jobs for the Future; the statement was developed through an extensive review of research on college completion and data from innovative programs across the country.
Of particular relevance to policy debates in California: the recommendations emphasize the need for pathway reform in mathematics. Instead of requiring all under-prepared students to complete the same remedial sequence through Intermediate Algebra, it recommends that remediation be tailored to specific academic pathways — for example, providing different support for students pursuing algebra-intensive majors than for students in majors that would be better served by courses in statistics or quantitative literacy. A key player in developing the recommendations was Uri Treisman, MacArthur genius award winner and national expert in math education. As Director of the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas, Austin, Treisman is leading the New Mathways Project, supporting Texas’ 50 community colleges to use a pathways approach to redesign remedial math.
For background on the policy debate in California, see Sacramento Bee Op-Ed from November 2012.