The volume of students taking remedial programs at the Northern Marianas College continues to grow, with about 90 percent of incoming students placing at the remedial level in Math and English courses.
This was according to NMC dean of academic programs services Barbara Merfalen, who disclosed plans to address the problem by first initiating a study that will help identify factors why many students are unprepared for college.
“It has become increasingly clear that there are several factors that affect course and college completion rates at NMC. One factor is placement at the remedial level. Approximately, 90 percent of incoming students place in remedial level in Math and English courses,” said Merfalen in her report to the Board of Regents.
Other factors are the lack of regular class attendance, work and personal related absences, and challenging program requirements, among others.
Because of this concern, NMC has partnered with an expert that would aid the college in doing an in-depth research on the subject. Saipan Tribune learned that NMC will begin work on two studies in February in partnership with McREL, a research organization best known for analyzing research.
The first study considers how the high school background of incoming NMC students is connected to whether a student is placed in remedial or non-remedial math and English courses.
The second study will focus on college success for students who are, or are not, placed in remedial English or math classes upon entry to NMC.
The purpose of this partnership is to improve remediation outcomes for students entering NMC.
“At the national level, remedial programs are broken and in dire need of being revamped. For far too many U.S. college students, college begins—and often ends—in remediation. Although NMC does not have comparable data on associate degree completion for college-ready students requiring remediation, the college will be working with McREL on two studies on college readiness and success in the CNMI beginning this February 2014,” stated Merfalen.
According to Merfalen’s report, course completion rates are particularly helpful in identifying those courses where students are having the most difficulty.
“It is clear that students are facing challenges in these developmental courses. The ultimate goal is to improve remediation outcomes,” states the report.