Core Principle 2
Enroll in college-level math and English.
Today, it has become clear that sequences of fragmented, reductive coursework that students must complete before entering college-level courses are not a reliable on-ramp to college for most students who have traditionally been judged to be underprepared. These traditional remedial course sequences are especially problematic because half of all students aspiring to achieve a postsecondary credential, and a majority of students enrolled in community colleges, are currently placed into remedial education.
Increasing numbers of colleges are changing from a remedial paradigm to a default approach of placing students directly into credit-bearing courses or course sequences with enhanced support. The default setting means that a very large majority of students are expected to enroll in those courses. This shift is crucial given that recent research shows that many more students can succeed in college-level gateway courses than have historically been placed into them. Completion of credit-bearing work—with appropriate support—is key to equity.
Students do better when they are engaged in work that counts toward a degree or credential in their academic or career area of interest, and completing a set of gateway courses in the first year is a critical step toward college completion. Supported by a strong advising process, students may decide to opt out of the default placement, but diagnostic and focused advising implemented as a mandatory part of the intake process can help to ensure that all students are making a considered decision and have the support they need to succeed.Next Principle
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