High Schools Participating in Pilot Course to Reduce College Rem - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

High Schools Participating in Pilot Course to Reduce College Remediation

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(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)
SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. (WBOC) - Getting more bang for your buck at the college level. In 2012, more than half of public school graduates in Delaware who enrolled in in-state colleges and universities had to take remedial courses. These courses don't count toward a degree, but cost just as much as classes that do. 

Three Delaware high schools are participating in a pilot program that is getting students revved up for the first semester ready to tackle credit-bearing math courses from the start. 

Studying and picking a major are just some things Laurel High School Senior Kayla Wongus is thinking about as she applied for college. 

"I want to be a registered nurse. My mom's a nurse, so I just kind of followed her," said Wongus. 

On top of school, Kayla works nights and weekends to save money, and with the price of tuition continuing to rise, she says having to take a remedial course isn't in the cards. 

"You still have to pay for books and a bunch of other classes, so this is like a nice load off, very helpful," said Wongus. 

She's in a pilot course at Laurel High School called "Foundations of College Math," a class that comes with a guarantee from Delaware's colleges and universities: pass with a 77 average, and you can go smoothly into a credit-bearing math class. 

Not everyone is so lucky. 

"Some students end up taking a year of math before even getting credit for it. If you already don't like math, then that's a problem," said John Buckley, Dean of Instruction of Delaware Technical and Community College's Terry Campus. 

What decides this fate? College placement tests, or SAT scores. In 2012, more than half of Delaware grads going to in-state colleges didn't make the cut. 

"Some students just don't test well. I don't think those tests are a good measurement," said Jenna Day, Foundations of College Math teacher at Woodbridge High School. 

The state's institutions and K-12 collaborated with one goal, find a way to bridge the gap. 

"It takes all of the SAT, the one-day high-stakes test kind of out of the picture and really bases it on mastery of course level work," said Buckley. "We're getting some preliminary data, and it's looking good. "

This school year, Foundations of College Math is being offered at Laurel High School, Woodbridge High School and Brandywine High School. 

"It's been an adjustment for both myself and the students. Getting used to the rigor of a college course while still in high school. But it's great for the student," said Day. 

There's one thing students and teachers agree on, the course is helping students prepare for college. 

"Some of them may not financially be able to pay for these remedial courses so it's good for them to be able to get ahead here before that becomes an issue," said Day. 

"It's just so helpful," said Wongus. 

Buckley says the groups are reviewing the preliminary data to make sure the program is what is best for students and they will make adjustments if need me. 

After this school year's pilot phase, the program will extend to English and Language Arts. 

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