What is a Remedial Class?

Remedial coursework could help pave the way for more college graduates. (Photo courtesy of Roel Wijnants on flickr)When enrolling in a college or university, students are usually provided with degree program outlines that list all required coursework, or at minimum the school’s credit and grade requirements, for graduation. At times, however, students may be required to enroll in remedial coursework prior to beginning their core classes. In such cases, students need to be aware of what a remedial class is and why it could play a significant role in their pursuit of a higher education.

What is a remedial class?

A remedial class is a course taken to improve a student’s academic knowledge in a determined subject to increase their potential success in a higher-level class. The class, oftentimes offered at the same length as on-level classes, will often aim to close the gap between the student’s current knowledge of a subject and where they should be to be successful in an on-level class.

How do I know if I need to take a remedial class?

Remedial course registrations are typically based off of test scores, such as the SAT, ACT, or an on-campus placement test.

How will I know if I am enrolled in a remedial class?

Look at the course code listed on your schedule. Typically the first two or three places in a course code are letters that designate the subject area; the numbers show the level. If the first number in a course code is ‘0’ then the course is considered remedial. Some schools may notate remedial courses differently, and you should consult the school catalog to confirm.

Do I get credit for completing a remedial class?

Yes and No. While a remedial class may be worth college credit, it will not satisfy the General Education requirements of an Associate’s Degree.

Can I refuse to take a remedial class?

No. Remedial coursework will always be a prerequisite to higher-level coursework in a degree program.  

How many students typically take remedial classes?

According to an article published on InsideHigherEd.com by Paul Fain, “Remedial classes represent approximately 10 percent of all coursework at community colleges.”

I haven’t been to school in a while, are there any other options aside from remedial education I can look into?

The their article 5 Myths of Remedial Education, Jane Wellman and Bruce Vandal discuss alternative options colleges could look into the decrease remedial education. “With so many adults returning to higher education, remedial education must be transformed to meet their needs. Institutions should provide a wide range of options for students based on their competency, recognizing that many don’t have time for semesterlong courses. Self-study options that use courseware, low-cost refresher sessions, tailored curriculum and simply mainstreaming students who are just below the cut score into college-level courses are just a few of the options that will work well with the full range of students in remedial education.

Ashley Benson is a distance education professional with five years of experience in the for-profit sector. She has worked coast-to-coast within the United States as an academic advisor, an adjunct teaching assistant and, most recently, a campus Registrar. Through formal education and industry experience, Ashley practices staying informed on the current events and changes within higher education and the students involved.

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