Historic Stark Collaboration Seeks to Eliminate Math Remediation in College
Civilization is on the brink of a new industrial order. The big winners in the increasingly fierce global scramble for supremacy ... will be those who develop talent, techniques and tools so advanced that there is no competition.*
In Ohio, only 1% of students taking remedial coursework in college earn a bachelor's degree in a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) field.**
Ohio faces a quandary. While state leadership increasingly understands the need to increase the number of STEM degrees, and college degrees in general, to stay globally competitive, a major barrier stands in the way. That barrier is college remedial coursework.
Thirty-eight percent of all incoming college freshmen in Ohio require remedial coursework - non-credit courses in math or English designed to raise their skills to do college level work. Nationally, it's 40%. Simply put, if students are not successful with remedial coursework, they don't complete college. In Ohio, only 27% students who take remedial courses earn an associate degree or higher within six years, compared to 54% of students who do not take remedial courses.**
This past Tuesday representatives from Stark State College of Technology, Kent State Stark, and fourteen of the county's public school districts came together for the first in a series of summits designed to eliminate math remediation in Stark County. This historic collaboration is the first multi-college, multi-district effort in the state to seriously confront what has become not only a statewide, but also a national pandemic of college non-completion.
Why is this important? The lack of substantive research on the causes and impact of remedial coursework has led some to "finger-point." The Stark collaboration moves beyond all this. Here both higher education and K-12 faculty will jointly begin a two-year process of aligning skills and competencies between high school and college not just to minimize, but to eliminate the need for math remediation. Student success and support will be the focus.
The project is being funded by a $50,000 grant from the Ohio College Access Network to the Stark Education Partnership. The Partnership has matched those dollars, the Educational Service Center has used funds from the Math/Science Partnership grant from NSF, the school districts have used funds from the Seniors to Sophomore grants, and in-kind matches have been made by the participating colleges, the school districts and the ESC.
*The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. "Sustaining the Nation's Innovation Ecosystems." Report on Information Technology Manufacturing and Competitiveness, January 2004.
**Ohio Board of Regents (2006). Costs and Consequences of Remedial Course Enrollment in Ohio Public Higher Education: Six-Year Outcomes for Fall 1998 Cohort. Columbus: Author.