- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 24, 2006

BALTIMORE (AP) — Thirty percent of Maryland’s college freshmen who graduated with a college-prep education in a state high school were assigned to remedial classes, according to a recently released study.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission said that many of the students needing help in math or English were attending four-year colleges.

Most remediation takes place at community colleges.

Michael Keller, the commission’s research director who wrote the report, said it followed 15,725 students who graduated from a public high school in 2004, took the SAT or ACT and enrolled that year in a public or private college or university in Maryland.

The increase in remedial math students at four-year colleges occurred most at Maryland’s historically black institutions, Mr. Keller said.

At the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 17 percent of freshmen in 1999 had to brush up on math skills; in 2004, that figure was 49 percent.

At Coppin State University, the jump was from 54 percent to 76 percent; at Morgan State University, that figure increased from 24 percent to 38 percent.

Among Maryland’s traditionally white four-year campuses, Towson University had the highest percentage of students in 2004 requiring remedial math, with more than 20 percent taking such classes.

“There is a challenge here for our state and, quite frankly, for our nation,” said University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. Kirwan, who has written about the need to address the “gulf” between secondary and post-secondary education.

Changing student demographics are a major factor, Mr. Kirwan said.

“We are seeing an increasing proportion of low-income, first-generation students going to college,” he said.

“Unfortunately, they tend to come from the lower-performing high schools, and so I think there is an issue about the high school preparation.”

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