Zorn, education leaders discuss ways to reduce need for remedial math courses

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — Educational leaders from school districts covering Monroe and Lenawee counties, Jackson College, Monroe Community College, Michigan State University, and the University of Texas joined Sen. Dale Zorn for a math summit on Oct. 26 to bridge the gap between high school and college-level curriculums and end the need for remedial courses.

“Our goal is to improve partnerships and better align the curriculum at our K-12 schools with the math expectations at our community colleges, so when students graduate, they can jump right in to earning a certificate or degree and not have to take remedial classes,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “We all know that education is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, but we must find a solution that works for everyone.

“Remedial courses cost students more money and more time. Most importantly, they result in many remedial students becoming frustrated and dropping out.”

When entering college, students usually take a math placement exam. Students whose scores do not meet minimum requirements must take remedial classes to get caught up. Tuition is charged for these remedial college classes, and students usually do not receive credit for them toward graduation.

In Michigan, over 27 percent of students entering college the year after graduating from high school needed to take remedial classes in the 2015-16 academic year. In math, it was 21.3 percent.

The summit was spearheaded by Zorn and held at the Monroe County Community College (MCCC) La-Z-Boy Center. Educators from the Addison, Adrian, Airport, Bedford, Blissfield, Britton Deerfield, Clinton, Dundee, Hudson, Ida, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Onsted, Sand Creek, Summerfield, Tecumseh and Whiteford schools were among those at the summit. Officials from the Lenawee and Monroe County intermediate school districts, Jackson College and MCCC also participated.

“We discussed a wide variety of innovative and different pathways for better preparing our students,” Zorn said. “The possible solutions included incorporating more career-based mathematics in the curriculum and developing a high school transition course for students who are not ready for college math — ensuring students meet college benchmarks and ending the need for remedial courses.”