Louisiana revamping remedial classes for college students

Published 7:40 am Sunday, March 27, 2022

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s public colleges and universities are revamping classes for students who aren’t prepared for college English or math.

Instead of taking noncredit courses with short class sessions, those students will attend longer sessions that move through the semester from makeup material to college-level work. They’ll also get additional academic support, and if they pass will get college credit.

This approach, called co-requisite, helps more students remain in college and graduate, removing barriers to higher education, the Board of Regents said Friday in a news release.

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The new model will be statewide for math in fall 2023 and for English the following fall.

The 214,000 students enrolled in Louisiana’s public higher education include 14,000 taking remedial math and 4,000 taking remedial English, Regents spokesperson Meg Casper Sunstrom said in an email.

Louisiana was one of seven states that received $300,000 from the Education Commission of the States in 2020 to begin phasing in the co-requisite model in math. A preliminary analysis found that 55% of the freshmen taking those math courses during the 2020-21 school year passed them, compared to 11% of remedial math students. Tennessee and Georgia are among states which had similar results, the Regents said.

“Addressing barriers to student success, like passing college-level math, gets us closer to our goal of doubling the number of credentials in our state by 2030 and at the same time saves our students time and money,” said board Chair Collis Temple III.

The board also approved guidelines giving undergraduate credit for learning outside college, such as on the job or in the military.

Under the new guidelines, credit can be awarded based on a variety of nationally standardized tests including the College-Level Examination Program, industry-based certificates or military exams or training. Credit may also be based on evaluating a portfolio of professional experience or through a faculty-developed exam.