The number of students taking remedial classes at the Northern Marianas College slightly declined this semester, based on data obtained from the college.
Records show that in fall 2010, there were 650 students enrolled in various remedial courses at NMC, representing 53 percent of the entire student population. At the time, the college had a total of 1,230 enrollees.
In fall 2011, the college saw a 1-percent decline, with 586 students taking part in remedial programs, equivalent to 52 percent of the 1,124 enrollees that semester.
In fall 2012, NMC saw a further decline in the volume of students taking up remedial classes. Of the 1,207 enrollees, only 586 were in remedial classes or about 49 percent of the student population.
This fall 2013, only 47 percent of NMC’s student population is enrolled in remedial programs. There are 1,137 enrollees this semester, of which 530 are taking remedial classes.
According to NMC, these figures indicate that the volume of students in one or more remedial courses has been steadily declining in the past few years.
Remedial education refers to classes taken by students that are below college-level or non-degree units. Students pay tuition and can use financial aid for remedial courses, but they do not receive college credit.
According to NMC’s Admissions Office, the percentage of NMC students who are enrolled in remedial courses is similar to what other studies have found when looking at other community colleges across the nation.
It says that a report prepared by the National Conference of State Legislatures indicate that several studies have found remediation rates surpassing 50 percent when it comes to community colleges.
Citing another source, the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College, NMC said that about 60 percent of community college students enroll in at least one developmental education course.
To assist students with their coursework, NMC said it continues to provide student service programs like tutoring, academic counseling, and early intervention activities.
The college also has an English Lab, which has materials, computer software, and additional tutors to help students who need assistance with grammar, vocabulary, and composition.
NMC is also exploring new programs that would allow high school students who have met math requirements at the secondary level to begin taking college math courses while they are still in high school. This will expose student to college-level math courses earlier and allow them additional time to prepare if necessary.
“We’ll be meeting with representatives from the Public School System to see how else we can help students,” said NMC dean of Academic Programs and Services Bobbi Merfalen. “We already partner with PSS on many other initiatives so this would be a natural extension of that collaboration.”
According to Merfalen, NMC continues to utilize the Accuplacer assessment tool when determining placement for English courses, and the COMPASS assessment tool when determining placement for math. Both are facilitated at the NMC Testing Center on campus. Accuplacer is computer-based, and designed to test listening, reading, and grammar skills.