Sat. Dec 4th, 2021

Many colleges are reconsidering the definition of “open-door” when it comes to student enrollment and remediation courses. While remediation courses are helpful in building up student skills in general education areas such as Reading, Mathematics, and English, some colleges are changing their approach to how remediation education is done. At the 2-year and 4-year level, having an open-door policy means that the college offers a variety of resources to help students build the necessary skills they need in order to be successful in higher level courses.

Not only do these post-secondary institutions offer remediation courses, but they also provide learning labs and additional one-on-one tutoring based on student needs similar to that of universities. In the past, the open-door policies offered by these institutions have always had a controlled, sequenced structured approach, with students being placed in remediation courses based on placement test scores. The new approach to improving how remediation courses are delivered provides colleges with a variety of options based on state recommendations. Several of these options are to:


    • Continue to deliver remedial courses using the traditional route, with placement testing as the determining factor as to which courses students are placed in.


    • Do not offer the courses at all and allow students to enroll directly in higher level general education courses while providing them with optional resources such as lab assistance that they can use at their convenience.


    • Allow students to use Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) for remedial learning.


    • Use online computer labs in conjunction with general regular education courses that allow students who need remediation to complete learning modules while enrolled in the course.

    • Use computer based training and testing to allow students to complete specific modules in their areas of weakness at their own pace. Students can retest once they achieve satisfactory results on the computer based module.


    • Create additional lab courses that allow students to work with instructors in a classroom setting on basic skills. The labs can be offered as an additional credit course similar to how a Science class with a lab works. In addition, the lab can also include a computer component in which students complete modules at their own pace, while receiving direct instruction as necessary on areas of weakness.


  • Combine remediation and general education classes in order to allow students to transition directly from one course to another. These combined courses can be designed as continuation courses that last approximately one school year. Students enroll in the developmental courses as a cohort and complete the year long course together. Students who enroll in a remedial math course in the Fall, for example, would be finished with Algebra I by the end of the Spring semester.


There are pros and cons to each of the options listed above, but it is up to each individual institution to make the decision as to how to approach the future of remediation education based on the guidelines set by their state, current research, and the needs of their students. While changes to remediation education may widen the open-door policy, by allowing students more flexibility in the courses that they can take, it may also mean additional challenges with student success, retention, and completion rates. The success of these new standards will rely primarily on a student’s motivation level, having a realistic understanding about what their strengths and weaknesses are, and a willingness to seek help when necessary.

In addition, colleges must ensure that students have such resources as access to learning labs and tutoring services. Advisors must also be willing to work with students to create an educational plan that includes recommendations for remediation assistance as needed and a clear outline of resources available at the college.

Finally, the faculty must be willing to provide students with recommendations for improvements and refer students to helpful resources without lowering expectations for their class; faculty must also look for new and innovative ways of teaching that allows them to reach all students in the class. Although, students are ultimately responsible for their own learning at the collegiate level, in order for it to work effectively, learning must be deemed as a partnership between the learner and the entire institution.

By rahul