A recent article and editorial published in The Denver Post highlight an alarming trend of unpreparedness for higher education among Colorado’s high school graduates. The Colorado Commission on Higher Education released its annual remediation report last week, a survey of how many of our state’s college-bound high school students are unprepared for the rigors of college-level coursework and, as a result, must take remedial, noncredit courses when they get to college.
Nearly 32 percent of Colorado’s graduates are testing below college level, according to the report, up from 28.6 percent last year. And the biggest problem areas? Math, followed by writing and reading. Remedial education in these subject areas is costing Coloradans a whopping $22 million annually.
Remember, you won’t receive credit for remedial courses you might have to take early on in college, but you still have to pay for them. And sit in them, while your friends are out enjoying aspects of college life that are probably a whole lot more enjoyable than reciprocal fractions and a review of subject-verb agreement. Taking a bunch of classes that you don’t receive college credit for may mean that you have to delay graduation by a semester – or even a year! That’s more money spent on tuition and less time spent in the workforce.
You’re probably asking yourself what you, the student, are supposed to do about Colorado’s underperforming schools. While getting our state’s schools up to par probably isn’t something that’s going to happen by the time you graduate, what you can do is see that you don’t become a part of the 32 percent. Take the hardest classes you can complete successfully, and concentrate not just on memorizing answers for that test you have tomorrow, but on retaining information for future use. (Remember when you used to roll your eyes over some of your high school curriculum, wondering when you’ll ever have to know this stuff again? Now you know. When you’re fulfilling general education requirements in college.)