Administrators and faculty at access colleges across the United States must make a decision, and make it now, for legislators and taxpayers are growing weary of developmental education. Bottom line (and it is about the bottom line): “remedial instruction is expensive and many of the students never graduate” (“Remedial Classes”). This is a problem.
The mission of access institutions is to provide a quality, affordable education to students who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to earn a degree. Community colleges must either abandon this mission or develop creative, cost-effective ways to bridge the achievement gap for at-risk students.
A decision must be made now because “one-third of all entering college students in the United States need remediation” (Laskey and Hetzel). Consider the state of Georgia, where nearly 23,000 students were taking learning support classes” in 2010 (“Remedial Classes”). Are colleges expected to just write these students off? Perhaps. Critics of developmental education “question whether colleges should even be serving students who can’t handle the academic rigor” (“Remedial Classes”).
One the other hand, community colleges could develop inexpensive strategies to confront the many barriers that at-risk students face and to help these students hone the rhetorical, technical, and emotional skills necessary to succeed in college. Specifically, instructors could incorporate learning objectives that teach to the affective domain.
There is no lack of evidence to support the value of affective learning. For instance, research conducted by the Academy of College Excellence indicates that affective instruction engages at-risk community college students, and engagement is, of course, instrumental in retention. Therefore, through affective curricula, unprepared college students (now considered a financial burden and a drain on college resources) may matriculate more quickly through developmental classes and, perhaps, graduate in greater numbers.
Please make the right decision.
We can’t afford not to send our students to college. The US is facing a shortage of skilled workers, and advanced skills are critical for both individual success and a competitive economy. Everyone benefits when all students can fulfill their potential and earn a college degree . . . Greater access to a college degree will lead to a more skilled workforce and a more prosperous America. (“Frequently Asked Questions”)