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Remedial and Almost Illiterate in College

Two news stories provided shocking statistics on the quality of high school education right now. Put these thoughts side by side and see if your head explodes.

1. Nearly half of high school students have an A average GPA.

2. Nearly half of college freshmen require remedial help in college.
There is a growing problem with college illiteracy, with more and more students accepted into college that need serious academic support. A recent study conducted by the Times Higher Education describes that students are coming to college classrooms ill-prepared for college level work. One professor said "we get a high number of students who are almost illiterate."

There are seriously complex issues that contribute to this problem of teens struggling to learn in schools. Many homeschoolers don't understand the challenges of public education, since we can focus on our few students that we know perfectly well. I also think that it's an overstatement to say students are "almost illiterate." I think it would be more accurate to say these students are "remedial" because they can usually read and write well enough to get admitted to college. Even so, this lack of preparation is a real issue that I hear from my college professor friends, and a real issue reported in a variety of online sources from every possible slant. Most colleges enroll many students who aren't prepared for higher education.

The bottom line is that more and more incoming college freshmen must take remedial courses. The Hechinger Report investigation and other current news reports claim that more than half of incoming college freshmen are remedial in some way.

Remedial education costs colleges a lot of money. Each remedial student will cost more for them to educate. They take longer to graduate. While they pay more money for college, it's not enough to compensate for the difference. Remedial classes have become a hidden cost of college.

What can we take away from this news?

1. Homeschoolers can do a better job.

Home educating parents love their children and want them to succeed. Parents are emotionally and financially invested in their child's success in high school and college. We can't pass off education to some public-school teacher to handle next year. It's always on us. We are deeply invested in making sure they have the education they need for the future. Dealing with disabilities is best handled by a loving parent.

2. You can give all A's when your student deserves it.

Parents can create a homeschool transcript with an accurate GPA. Take a look at our free Homeschool Transcript Template and Record Keeping Samples. Home educators tend to make sure a student learns before moving on. There are no other high schools that can guarantee learning the way that we can. Receiving an A means the student understands and has mastery over the concepts. It doesn't mean they are perfect, or get every problem in the book correct. If homeschoolers get all A's in high school, they fit right in with the rest of the crowd. Give your children honest grades, and if you honestly know they know the material, give them an honest A. Your grade should be based on ALL ways you evaluate and never just tests. Read more on Character Qualities NOT Measured by Tests.

3. You can provide accommodation. 

We can work to provide accommodations in high school, to be sure they learn what they need to know. We can ensure accommodation in college admission tests, to be sure a disability doesn't interfere with their career goals, and allow them to qualify for financial aid in college. If you have a child with a disability requiring accommodation, read College for Struggling Learners. As distressing as this may sound, it also means your child is not unusual in their current abilities. And thank goodness you have homeschooled and can see for your own eyes the great success you experienced!

4. Remedial subjects are normal.

Some homeschoolers are remedial, and that's okay. Homeschoolers have normal children too. They have children that are good at some things, but not others. Great homeschoolers can have struggling learners. Don't overwork the weakest area, or your child will become more reluctant to learn. Don't move too fast, and put them into a curriculum that is over their head, or they can begin to hate learning. Instead, cover the weak area normally, using the normal amount of curriculum. On the transcript, remember to include everything your child does, because often delight directed learning may compensate for weak areas in English or any other subject.

5. Create an honest transcript.

When you have a child that is academically behind, transcripts don't have to be a challenge. In public school all classes are included on the high school transcript, whether they are remedial or not. Mathematics or pre-algebra taken as a 9th grader would still go on the public high school transcript. You can do this too! If your child is in 9th grade or above, put all classes on the transcript. Choose accurate class titles, to be above reproach and provide complete honesty. But with half the college population remedial, you don't need to call attention to a learning disability. Help each college see the very best of your child. Include delight directed learning, and classes where they succeed. Learn more about Delight Directed Learning.

6. Find a perfect fit college.

If almost half the incoming college freshman are remedial, and your child may be remedial when they graduate high school, do you know what that means? It means they will fit right in with the college crowd. Do your best, work hard, motivate and encourage, seek accommodations if possible. Find an appropriate college, because there are colleges that are a perfect fit for almost all abilities. In the college application make sure the college sees the very best of your child. And if your child remains a remedial learner and they end up going to college, they can get the help they need. This free eBook will help: Finding a College You Love.
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Wednesday, 30 November 2022

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