Florida’s community colleges will no longer offer non-credit bearing remedial courses. Instead, all students will begin with regular, credit-bearing courses, in a move the governor says will speed up time to graduation because students “can move more quickly toward a degree while simultaneously bridging any learning gaps.”
…While some researchers praise the legislation, which [Florida] Gov. Rick Scott recently signed into law, college administrators fear that students are being set up to fail. Starting in 2014, a large segment of students…will not have to take remedial courses or even a placement test, which is [currently] required by community colleges to detect gaps in learning….
…Though a lot of students will like being able to opt out of remedial work, college administrators…worry that students will struggle or fail their college-level classes if they lack skills and don’t take advantage of opportunities to get help. Research shows a lot of students overestimate their abilities. [Full article.]
This approach contradicts popular ideas held by community college leaders around the country. They include: Students don’t do optional and often make the wrong choices about courses; many high school graduates are not ready for college-level work; and students who start credit-bearing courses without adequate preparation face long odds of graduating…. “It may foreshadow many of the things that are about to happen around the country,” said Stan Jones, president of Complete College America, an advocacy group that supported the Florida bill.