Spotlight on Innovation: How Southern New Hampshire is Replacing Remedial Education with Just-in-Time Academic Assistance

Remedial Math and Developmental Education: Image of an equation on a whiteboard
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The US Department of Education has awarded multi-million dollar "First in the World" grants to 24 colleges and universities that are innovating to solve critical challenges with access, recruitment, retention, and student success. At AI, we have interviewed each of the recipients to learn more about the projects these institutions are pursuing, how their approaches are unique, and what other colleges and universities can learn from these new efforts.

by Lisa Cook & Daniel Fusch, Academic Impressions

It is well known that traditional "remedial courses" are not working for the majority of students assigned to them; College for America at Southern New Hampshire University (CfA) is helping underprepared students with a new approach that circumvents remedial education altogether. This concurrent model enables students to pursue college-level work while receiving targeted academic support.

CfA’s work is supported by a $3.93 million First in the World grant, and we reached out to Cathrael Kazin, Chief Academic Officer of College for America, to learn more about their work.

The Challenge

Anywhere between 25 to 40 percent of undergraduates take at least one remedial course, but studies have shown that students who enroll in remedial courses are less likely to complete the course or a college degree. Some estimate that less than 50 percent of students complete the course, and only a quarter of community college students who enroll in remedial education will earn a degree or certificate within eight years.

“In the vast majority of cases, no matter how well-meaning the administrators, no matter how hard the students work, and no matter how hard the instructors try, it’s really limbo land for a lot of students,” explains Kazin. Their solution: place students in the regular curriculum and offer concurrent assistance to address needs as they arise.

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