The purpose of the grant is to improve remedial math programs by providing mandatory case management for students and by aligning remedial and credit-bearing math courses more efficiently.
Alma Adamez, director of academic programs, said that a portion of the money will be used to pay for four instructional skills specialists – two in Beeville and two in Kingsville – to help students taking remedial math, English and reading courses.
“We are going to redesign our courses and implement a special advising system for the people taking these courses so that as soon they start having problems we can begin working with them,” she said. “Some of our students get frustrated because they come in with low skills and it takes a very long time before they get college credit.”
Of the students attending the college campuses, 21 percent need the remedial courses.
“It is a pretty high number,” she said. “That is very typical at a community college.”
A recent report from Jobs for the Future found that nearly 60 percent of students enrolling in the nation’s community colleges must take remedial classes to build their basic academic skills, according to information provided by the foundation.
For low-income students and students of color, the figure topped 90 percent at some colleges.
Remedial classes cost taxpayers more than $2 billion a year, money that is mostly wasted as few students even complete the classes, let alone continue on to graduate.
Adamez agreed saying, “Most students that start in a developmental course don’t end up with a bachelors degree.”
The grants announced earlier this week will fund the Developmental Education Initiative, which will build upon the most promising programs developed through Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count, a multi-year national initiative to boost graduation rates at community colleges, particularly among low-income students and students of color.
The remedial education models developed by the 15 community colleges receiving these grants represent some of the most promising work in the country aimed at boosting college completion rates among struggling students, according to the foundation, according to information provided by the foundation.
“The pressing need to shore up weak academic skills in first-year students is one of the most significant, but least discussed, problems confronting higher education,” said Carol Lincoln, director of the Developmental Education Initiative and national director of Achieving the Dream for MDC. “Colleges that can figure out how to quickly and efficiently boost basic skills, particularly among students of color and low-income students, will play a leading role in helping them earn the college degrees necessary for economic success in America today.”