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Why a Strong Start?

Every student deserves a strong start to finish.

When students get off to a strong start in their first year of college, nearly 70 percent frequently pass math and English in one semester – making them much more likely to graduate career-ready.

 

70% pass math with a strong start

But too many are not getting the start they need.

Today, more than 50 percent of students attending two-year institutions and 33 percent of students attending four-year colleges are placed in ineffective developmental (remedial) courses. Most drop out or take years to graduate.

 

Less than 10 percent of two-year students in developmental education graduate within three years.

 


Only 35 percent of four-year students in developmental education graduate within six years.

And most accrue large amounts of student debt.

Nearly half of all developmental education students take on debt, averaging $3,000 per course.

 


Nationwide, developmental education costs students and their families almost $1.3 billion in out-of-pocket costs each year.

Students placed in developmental education seldom move on to credit-earning courses.

Students should begin taking credit-earning courses in their first year of college. However, nationally, 50 percent of students at public two-year colleges and 40 percent of students at public four-year colleges failed to complete their developmental coursework within six years.

 

Unable to complete developmental coursework

Coursework

 

We can change this.

Too many students are failing college-level math.

To compound the situation, college-level mathematics courses also have high failure rates. Each year in the United States, only 50 percent of students pass the most commonly enrolled gateway math course, College Algebra, and fewer than 10 percent of students who pass this class enroll in Calculus, the gateway to STEM degrees.

Students of color need educational equity to succeed.

A strong start is important for all students, but current outcomes are especially troubling for minority and other underserved students. These populations are vastly overrepresented in remedial math courses and are disproportionately impacted by the high rates of failure.

There is a better way.