As at many two-year colleges around the country, the pass rate among Montgomery County Community College students who take remedial-math classes, which cover material students are typically expected to master in high school, is much lower than school officials would like. Of the roughly 1,350 new students at Montgomery County who took a remedial-math class in the fall of 2005, the latest year for which data are available, only about half passed. And over time, plenty of students will never pass: One student of every four who took beginning algebra at Montgomery County in the fall of 2000 had not earned a passing grade in the course four years later. Students were either still repeating the class, had dropped it, or had left the school altogether without passing the class or earning a degree. To improve on those records, Montgomery County is experimenting with different course offerings, teaching methods, and academic-support services all designed to move students more quickly and smoothly through remedial math. "It is critically important to focus resources on the needs of students in that first term," says Kay M. McClenney, a senior lecturer at the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin, who directs an annual survey of community-college students. "Studies show that students who enroll in and successfully complete remedial courses in their first term are more likely to graduate or stay on track to graduate than any other population of students, including those who were never in remedial education."
Chronicle of Higher Education
Getting Students Through Remedial Math Is a Constant Struggle, but This College Keeps Trying