- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The number of Arkansas students who must take remediation courses upon arrival at college continued to drop last year, but the state Department of Higher Education said the rate remains too high.

According to the department, 8,667 out of 20,064 students -or 43.2 percent - needed to take a remedial college class in 2013. That continues the steady decline from 2009’s remediation rate of 55 percent, the agency said. The report tallies the number of first-time students who scored below 19 in at least one area of the ACT college admissions test and were required to take remedial courses at college because of it.

“Even though the number keeps coming down, it is still too high,” said Shane Broadway, director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Monday (https://bit.ly/LfhPYX ) that all public four-year colleges in the state - with the exception of Henderson State University - saw decreases in the number of its test takers requiring remediation. Henderson State’s rate inched up from 45.2 percent in 2012 to 45.4 percent in 2013.

The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville had the smallest percentage of students requiring a remediation class at 8.4 percent. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff had the highest percentage, with 78.2 percent of students requiring remedial coursework in 2013. The UAPB rate is down from its 2012 rate of 85.2 percent.

Jacquelyn McCray, UAPB interim vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the college has increased its efforts to work with local high schools to help students improve test scores and reduce the need for college remediation. UAPB has an open-admissions policy, meaning the campus can conditionally admit students with ACT scores as low as 13.

“We still have a long way to go, but we are committed to serving our traditional clientele. We are developing more programs and pre-college workshops to help bring the number down even further,” McCray said.

Broadway credited the Arkansas Legislature and Arkansas Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell for placing greater emphasis on reducing the remediation rates. Kimbrell, in turn, credited the state’s public schools, teachers and administrators for their work.

“I don’t think we in K-12 took any ownership of that in the beginning. We dodged that and said we don’t agree with those indicators. Now we have accepted the fact that it is what it is and we are taking ownership,” Kimbrell said.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com


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