In the News: Ending the Curse of Remedial Math

In the Sunday New York Times, David Kirp looks at how CUNY is “Ending the Curse of Remedial Math” by enrolling students in an intensive, counseling-heavy program called CUNY Start that helps them quickly get on track to their degrees instead of getting bogged down in remedial courses.

The Spring 2017 issue of Education Next includes an analysis of a different type of program for selected CUNY students, one that allows them to skip remedial math altogether and instead enroll in a college-level statistics class that includes extra academic support.

The authors write:

Here we present new results from a randomized controlled trial of mainstreaming at three community colleges at the City University of New York (CUNY). Some entering students who ordinarily would have been assigned to a remedial elementary-algebra class were placed instead in a college-level statistics course and provided with extra academic support. We find that the students placed directly in college-level statistics did far better than their counterparts in remedial classes, even when students in remedial classes were also given extra support. They were more likely to pass their initial math course and, three semesters after the experiment, had completed more college credits overall. In short, our study suggests that many students consigned to remediation can pass credit-bearing quantitative courses right away.

— Education Next

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