Few East Grand students require remedial courses
The East Grand School District (EGSD) has had a pretty good fall. The Cross Country team sent the Middle Park boys to compete in the State Championships and the lady Panthers volleyball team recently took fifth place at the State Volleyball Tournament. Earlier this year officials from East Grand got some other news worth crowing about as well.
Recently released data shows the EGSD is among the top schools in the state, number nine to be exact, in terms of having the lowest number of graduates who require remedial education when beginning college. The most recent data available, covering students from Middle Park High School (MPHS) who graduated in 2015, shows 13.64 percent of students from Middle Park, a total of three out of 22, needed remedial education classes when they began attending college.
The data does not cover all graduates of MPHS, or all graduates throughout the state for that matter. The numbers only take into consideration students who graduated from high school in Colo. and went on to attend a four-year public university in Colo.
Remedial education levels are not tabulated for students who attend college out of state, those who attend private universities, those enrolled at community colleges or those who do not attend college/university. Each year roughly about 60 to 75 percent of the students who graduate from MPHS will go on to further their education at a college or university.
Still the data set examined provides a solid snapshot of how well school districts throughout the state are preparing students for their post high school lives. Additionally, because standardized tests mandated by the state and federal government often change over time comparing remedial college education requirement levels over the long run can provide a good apples to apples comparison on achievement levels in school districts.
As East Grand Superintendent Frank Reeves explained. “Remedial rates are easy to track. You could argue having to take a remedial class a different colleges is different, but it is still an easy thing to track; you either take them or you don’t.”
The data sets provided show the top 10 and bottom 10 schools in the state for remedial student education levels. Rural high schools and those in mountain towns rank among the best in the state with Limon, Telluride, East Grand and Aspen all among the top 10. Out of the bottom 10 schools in the state the bottom six are from the Denver County School District.
East Grand Superintendent Frank Reeves attributed most of the District’s success in terms of low remedial education requirements on the District’s, “rigorous curriculum and the courses we offer, and obviously the motivation and drive of the kids to learn.” Reeves went on to highlight the impacts of AP (Advanced Placement) courses the school offers that allow students to take freshman level college classes in high school.
After completing a given AP course students can opt to take a comprehensive test. If the students pass the test they are awarded college credit in the corresponding course and can move on to further classes when they formally begin college. As Reeves explained it, “if a kid has taken a college calculus AP class then she already has that credit and doesn’t need to take a remedial course… They don’t have remedial courses for second or third year classes.”
The long-term trends in remedial college students from Middle Park have trended downwards over the past several years, a positive development. Since the State began tracking the data Middle Park’s numbers have reduced slightly on a fairly consistent basis. “It seems like a pretty even trend where every year we reduce them a bit more. Which is a good thing. I think on a statewide average we have seen that as well.” Reeves added that, to his knowledge, this was the first year MPHS has placed among the state’s top schools.
When asked what the EGSD and MPHS can do to maintain or improve the quality numbers the District is already seeing Reeves said, “I think we need to look at what more we can be doing for those kids who are in that college prep route; more dual credit or AP courses… I think expanding all the opportunities for our kids will help us at least maintain that rate.”
But despite East Grand’s joy over the data released this year Reeves pointed out the rate is only a metric the district uses to gauge success in a specific area and that lowering that number is not the end goal in and of itself. Reeves highlighted the potential for students to decide late in their high school careers they want to attend college, which, if they have not taken the proper classes throughout high school could necessitate taking remedial classes in college.
“Sometimes they decide halfway through their final year,” Reeves said. “They may have to take remedial classes but we still want them to go if that is what they want to do.”
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