Students Attending Montgomery College Continue to Need Remediation in Math, English and Reading After Graduating from High School

September 21, 1999
A significant percentage of students attending Montgomery College continue to need remediation in mathematics, reading, and English after graduating from the Montgomery County Public Schools, according to the most recent results of the Maryland Student Outcome and Achievement Report (SOAR) from the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

The new report, which reflects the experiences of school system graduates in 1997, reveals that the need for remediation remained the same or increased from 1996 to 1997:

  • The percent of graduates needing developmental reading instruction increased by two percentage points to 29 percent in 1997 at Montgomery College, after having decreased the previous year.

  • The percent of graduates at Montgomery College needing developmental English instruction remained the same at 15 percent, for the second consecutive year.

  • The percent of graduates needing developmental mathematics instruction at Montgomery College was 43 percent in 1997, an increase of five percentage points from the year before and eight percentage points since 1995.

    By contrast, the need for remediation among graduates attending the University of Maryland College Park, declined from 5 percent to 4 percent in mathematics in 1997. For the sixth consecutive year, no students at the university were enrolled in remedial courses in reading or English.

    "The obvious conclusion is that students attending Montgomery College are in need of greater preparation before they leave our high schools," said Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools. "Our initiatives to improve the student achievement will need to include measures to better prepare our graduates for at least the first two years of college.

    "This is very important, especially given that one-third of the 1997 graduating class attended Montgomery College, the largest single such enrollment of county students among any state college or university," Dr. Weast said.

    In 1997, the college received 2,302 students (33.5 percent) from the school system. The next most frequently attended college was the University of Maryland College Park with 767 students (11.2 percent).

    The need for remediation among students attending Montgomery College has remained high for the last several years, going as far back as 1992.

    In recent years, the college, the school system, and individual high schools have formed partnerships designed to improve the instruction of students and the guidance they receive in preparing for college-level studies. These efforts are continuing to focus on reading, English, and mathematics.

    A review of the data by the Department of Educational Accountability showed that students who had not taken high school math courses beyond Algebra 2 would likely be identified for remediation at Montgomery College. "The lowest-level math course at the college that provides credit for degree requirements covers material starting with advanced algebra and trigonometry," the DEA report said.

    Beginning with the graduating class of 1998, the high school math requirements increased from three credits to four credits, including one year each of algebra and geometry.

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