Line Between Remedial, Mainstream Classes Blurs as Colorado Colleges Reconsider Paths to Student Success

A new law getting rid of remedial college courses in Colorado won’t take effect until 2022, but schools already are shifting away from a traditional sequence of lower-level classes that students have to pass before they can start earning credits.

Statewide, more than one-third of students who entered higher education in 2017 were flagged by their college as being behind in math, English or both. Data from the 2018 school year isn’t available yet, but Colorado’s overall remediation rate has fluctuated between 33% and 40% since 2009.

For a long time, the philosophy in higher education was that it was better to catch all students who were behind and send them through remediation — having them take courses designed to cover the basic skills they’d need in a subject before moving forward with regular coursework.

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