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Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 8:30am

Remedial Course Changes Coming

By next fall, it will be harder for Georgia students who need remedial training to get into a public college or university. The University System of Georgia wants to cut the number of students who enroll but never obtain a degree.

Colleges require incoming students to take placement exams if they received low scores on standardized tests such as the SATs. The placement test results dictate whether students need to take remedial courses in reading, writing and math.

Virginia Michelich is with the University System of Georgia. She says until now, students took the placement tests, known as COMPASS, after they gained admission.

“Now the students who need to take the COMPASS will have to take it before an admissions decision is made, which means the institutions will have more success in guiding those students to prepare for the placement test and I think we will see fewer students scoring so low on that placement exam,” she said in an interview.

The system will also now offer expanded preparation resources and will use new teaching methods in remedial courses.

“We have found in the university system over years that students who score low in all three areas of learning support are just not successful," she said. "There are fewer than 10 percent of those students that ever complete learning support and go onto collegiate courses.”

The technical colleges may see an uptick in enrollment because of the changes. That's because those colleges will be part of an expansion of pre-matriculation preparatory courses.

Mike Light with the technical college system says he will be "watching enrollment numbers closely" but says students are still adjusting to the new rules. That means, the technical colleges may not see larger enrollments until the spring semester or even until next fall, when the new rules take full implementation.