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Gov. Reynolds announces more Iowans on track for success in postsecondary education, training


This news story was published on December 12, 2018.
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Kim Reynolds

DES MOINES – Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg on Wednesday announced that fewer Iowa high school graduates are taking remedial coursework during their first year at Iowa’s community colleges and state universities, a signal that more students are on track to earn a degree or other postsecondary credential.

“This is great news for our state and specifically for the Future Ready Iowa initiative, which focuses on helping more Iowans pursue rewarding careers and employers hire the skilled workers they need,” Gov. Reynolds said. “It is encouraging that high schools and higher education institutions are making big strides to better support students academically, but we must do more to ensure that all of our high school graduates are genuinely ready for college or career training and that they enroll.”

About 71 percent of Iowa high school graduates enroll in college or training programs within a year of graduation, a percentage that has remained fairly steady in recent years. Of those:

–          The percentage of students who took a remedial math class at an Iowa community college or state university within one year of high school graduation declined to 13 percent (Class of 2016) from 19 percent (Class of 2011).

–          The percentage of students who took a remedial English class at an Iowa community college or state university within one year of high school graduation declined to 6 percent (Class of 2016) from 10 percent (Class of 2011).

–          The percentage of students who took remedial math or English classes declined among students from racial and ethnic minority groups, students from low-income backgrounds, students who do not speak English as their native language, and students who received special education services from 2011 through 2016, although significant disparities still exist.

The new data are from the state’s Postsecondary Readiness Reports website, updated on Wednesday.

“The significant decline in students needing remedial courses when they enroll in college indicates Iowa is poised to make impressive progress toward the Future Ready Iowa goal of 70 percent of our workforce having education or training beyond high school in the next seven years,” Lt. Gov. Gregg said.

Future Ready Iowa calls for 70 percent of Iowans in the workforce to have education or training beyond high school by 2025. One of the recommendations released by the Future Ready Iowa Alliance last year called for reducing the need for remediation for college students. Students identified through placement tests for non-credit developmental or remedial courses typically must complete them before moving on to college-credit courses, which can be a financial burden.

“Remediation puts students at risk of dropping out of college,” Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise said. “Iowa’s community colleges, in particular, have been working hard to support students who aren’t prepared for college-level coursework through promising approaches that are helping them succeed.”

Among these approaches, community colleges increasingly are placing underprepared students in college-level courses that are paired with supplemental education and homework support, known as a co-requisite remediation model.

For example, North Iowa Area Community College’s co-requisite program has boosted success rates in math and writing courses. The college initially piloted the program for math in 2007 and added writing in 2013. Now, more than 90 percent of students who receive homework support through the program pass college-level math, and more than 80 percent pass college-level writing (compared to success rates of 60 percent and about 30 percent, respectively, in traditional remedial or developmental courses).

About Iowa’s Postsecondary Readiness Reports: This state website, launched in 2017, serves as an indicator of how well-prepared students are for success in postsecondary education and training upon graduation from public high schools in Iowa. The site provides data on student postsecondary enrollment patterns, remedial course-taking rates, and postsecondary retention and completion rates that can be connected to every public high school in Iowa. The site is a collaboration between the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Workforce Development, and the Board of Regents. For more information, visit https://reports.educateiowa.gov/postsecondaryreadiness.

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