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Ohio public colleges set new standards for students needing remedial classes

Courtesy of MCT

State leaders are setting a new standard for what minimum test scores are necessary for college students before they can take advanced classes.
Ohio leaders are putting pressure on its high schools to produce students that are ready for a college-level education by standardizing the test score minimums on the ACT or SAT that students must meet before enrolling in credited college courses.
A student taking the ACT must receive an 18 or higher in English (sub score), a 21 (or higher) in reading (sub score) and a 22 (or higher) in mathematics (sub score) in order to be considered remedial-free and proceed with credit-bearing classes.
A student taking the SAT must receive a 430 (or higher) in the writing portion of the English section, a 450 (or higher) in the critical reading portion of the English section and a 520 in the mathematics (or higher) in order to be considered remedial-free and proceed with credit-bearing classes.
Students who do not reach the minimum score on a subject will be required to enroll, pay and pass non-credit bearing classes in the remedial subject before advancing in that subject.
The standard was implemented to help prepare students pursuing higher educational degrees that will lead to “meaningful employment” which will in turn benefit Ohio, according to a Department of Education document.
This new “meaningful employment” standard will force some students to take non-credited, remedial courses before advancing to high-level classes, however, students at Ohio State are used to being assess for proficiency in certain subjects before they begin taking classes.
OSU is one of the colleges that tests students independently after admission in certain subjects such as math and foreign languages.
John Wanzer, assistant provost of Undergraduate Admissions at OSU, said incoming students are gauged for math by a placement test to see if remedial classes are necessary, and must receive a minimum of an 18 on the ACT English section to be remedial-free.
“We are raising the bar,” said John Charlton, associate director of communications at Ohio Department of Education. “In Ohio we have become pretty good at reaching the minimum standard. There are several things in place, like these end of course exams, that help us raise the bar.”
Colleges will use ACT scores and a student’s high school grade point average of a student to determine his or her college readiness in science, according to the document. Some OSU students said this admissions evaluation should be enough to clear an accepted student for credited-classes.
L’Nard Tufts, a third-year in mechanical engineering, said he did not see the standard as necessary.
“I don’t know why (the universities) would admit them if their scores are so low they need to catch up,” Tufts said.
Others said they might be helpful to some students.
Belle Teesdale, a second-year in history, said the remedial classes are good to help groom students to college-level courses.
“I feel like it is kind of a bummer they don’t get credit for it,” Teesdale said. “But I think it makes sense because you should already be at that level anyway, and it’s just benefitting you for the future.”
Wanzer said the remedial classes cost the university and students money and hopes high schools will establish programs and assessments that guarantee students will meet the standard set by the universities.
It will be the job of the Ohio high schools to prepare students for their future college endeavors, according to the Department of Education document.
Charlton said Ohio is raising the standard in secondary schools by replacing the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) with end-of-course exams for classes like algebra.
The effects of the standard will start to be seen this fall, said Jeff Robinson, deputy director of communications for the Ohio Board of Regents.
Reports of students who receive low marks on their test scores show that the issue is statewide, which is why the standards were made as they were, Robinson said.
In 2010 and 2011, about 41 percent of all public high school students arriving to college were required to take at least one remedial class, according to a Department of Education document.
The standard is not meant to replace a universities’ admissions standard, and will only affect whether a student must take remedial classes before advancing in the subject matter, Robinson said.
“If you score above those scores, you do not have to take remedial classes,” he said. “If you are there or below, it is up to each university to determine where they feel you are fit. They (can) test you further or put you in a different class.”

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