Remedial Coursework and You

Remedial Education and You

Remedial classes in community college

Sixty-five percent of all employment positions are expected to require post-secondary education within the next few years. Nationally, the current rate of associate's degree graduates and/or those who've completed a postsecondary vocational certificate equates to a shortage of qualified employees in the near future.

To help bridge this gap, the federal government has implemented assistance programs to increase associate's degree holders by 30 percent before 2020. Enrollment in community colleges is on the rise as a result, but many students still utilize loans for living (and other) expenses. To add insult to injury, up to 80 percent of freshmen entering community college are required to enroll in remedial coursework. A weak background in English, math, or another high school subject often translates into higher debt to learn material that won't count towards college credit. Considering that only a quarter of students who take remedial classes will actually complete their two-year degree within a six-year window, these classes can become financially crippling.

Thankfully, technology offers a way around the need to rack up debt to pay for remedial coursework. Algorithms that tailor material to each learner coupled with an engaging platform and spaced repetition e-learning sessions make FactSumo the perfect preparatory tool to pass remediation tests and skip the hassle of additional coursework.

An Impending Worker Shortage

The annual number of students graduating with an associate's degree (or higher) and those obtaining a post-secondary vocational certificate is insufficient to meet the projected needs of the 2020 workforce. Colleges are partially responsible for low graduation rates, but the educational crisis within primary and secondary grades often leaves students poorly prepared for college-level coursework. Some school districts are attempting to increase college preparedness by shifting from a standard curriculum to one based on the concept of blended learning.

As a long-term solution, the incorporation of technology into the schedule of all students gives them a far greater chance of being prepared to enter college without the need for remedial classes. Blended learning techniques can also be utilized in short-term resolutions for the impending shortage of qualified workers.

Remedial Education Largely Ineffective

Three-quarters of freshmen entering community college are required to take remedial coursework (also referred to as developmental classes). Unfortunately, the majority of these students drop out before completing their two-year degree, and some never even make it to regular college-level courses. Clearly, the intentions behind remedial classes and their actual effects are far removed from one another, as evidenced by the low graduation rate of students who've taken these courses.

Developmental classes can be devastating to self-esteem and experts cast serious doubt on the "skill and drill" methodology often utilized. Research and test results indicate that an alternative must be embraced for the future of our nation's youth.   


Is the National Incentive for Free Tuition Falling Short?

During his State of the Union Address in 2015, President Obama addressed the nation's imminent shortage of qualified workers and revealed a plan to offer free tuition (known as the "Promise Program") at community colleges for qualified students. While this initiative has increased enrollment in many locations, the plan is far from complete and most states have yet to adopt legislation needed to make the former President's free college dream a reality. But even in states where the Promise Program is already in place, many students are still forced to take out student loans to cover basic living expenses. Those required to take remedial classes will have their graduation (and future employment) delayed and typically leave college with a larger debt burden than those directly entering college-level classes.

Outrageous Debt and High Default Rates

In spite of relatively low tuitions and the free tuition program available in certain situations, students who enroll in community college have a high chance of racking up debt. Although one-third are eligible to receive Federal Pell Grants, nearly half still need loans just to cover living expenses like rent and food. This is especially troublesome for those required to enroll in remedial classes, as these delay entrance into the post-graduation workforce.

Sadly, the loan default rate for those who've attended a community college is much higher than students who've graduated from a traditional university; close to 40 percent of borrowers in the former group will default within five years of starting to pay back their loans. Low graduation rates at community colleges translate into reduced earning potentials and are largely responsible for the loan default crisis. Default leaves a black mark on one's credit history and increases total loan balance. Interest which has not been paid can legally be added to the principal and compounded at the same rate; over time, this can significantly increase the total amount owed. Even bankruptcy will not dissolve student loan debt, regardless of whether or not the borrower ever earned their degree.

FactSumo - An Effective Alternative to Remedial Courses

Considering the expenses associated with remedial classes as well as their ineffectiveness, many students, instructors, and administrators are seeking alternatives. Some intuitively realize that technological applications such as the FactSumo program offer a viable solution, as technology has the ability to tailor material to each student based on real-time responses. Confidence tends to soar with FactSumo's e-learning sessions since students have the opportunity to practice until they "no longer get it wrong" instead of feeling bummed that they "didn't get it right".

The application offers pre-loaded decks in virtually every subject area to help students expand their knowledge base, pass remediation tests and skip the whole hassle of developmental coursework. Sessions can be completed at any time and on any device with internet access, giving students the opportunity to master the material at their own pace. Short, frequent periods of study (spaced repetition sessions) are far more effective for long-term retention than cramming, so even the busiest of students can successfully learn with just a few minutes of daily practice. FactSumo has the potential to reduce student loan debt, empower the nation's youth and shorten the number of years spent in college, leading to an enhanced quality of life.