The topic of the usefulness of remedial college classes is up for debate in the higher education community. Some evidence has shown that many students who take remedial classes in college never go on to succeed in non-remedial classes. However, there are still many good reasons why it is important for colleges to offer remedial classes to students.
Addresses Student Weaknesses
Many students enter college with one weakness or another. Some students may be strong in math but need help with English. Others may have strong verbal skills, but need additional study in mathematics. The goal of college is to create well rounded, educated adults. However, in practicality, students usually enter college to study a particular field of study and therefore may not be as strong in some subjects as in others. This does not mean that students with weaknesses cannot be successful in their chosen majors, but they may need help succeeding in general course requirements. Remedial classes can help mitigate this gap.
Helps Non-Traditional Students
More and more older students are returning to school to compete in a difficult economy. Students who have been out of school for 10 or even 20 years may need refresher courses on basic skills such as grammar, punctuation and math because they haven’t practiced these skills in a long time. They may even need help relearning how to take tests and submit assignments. Remedial college classes give these students time to acclimate to college and feel confident about their chance of success.
Colleges strive for diversity because this creates a rich learning environment for students. Unfortunately, some students arrive at college better prepared than others. These students may be intelligent and capable, but have missed out on certain information that was necessary to succeed in college, such as how to write a research essay. It is for the benefit of the college to admit students with a multitude of experiences. Therefore, creating remedial college classes for these students is an important stepping-stone to help them catch up.
Although there is some controversy in the adult education community about whether remedial education actually helps students graduate, the point of a college education is to learn. It would be ideal for students who participate in remedial college classes to eventually succeed in regular college classes and graduate. However, barring that, students gain skills in remedial classes that they will be able to use whether they graduate or not.