Three out of four colleges and universities offered at least one
remedial course in fall 1989. Sixty-eight percent offered
mathematics, 65 percent writing, and 58 percent reading.
Both in institutions with a predominantly minority student body
(less than 50 percent white) and institutions with a predominantly
nonminority student body (greater than or equal to 50 percent white),
74 percent of the institutions offered at least one remedial course.
At least one remedial course was offered in 91 percent of public
colleges, 90 percent of 2-year colleges, 64 percent of 4-year colleges,
and 58 percent of private colleges.
On average, colleges with remedial courses provided two
different courses in a given remedial subject; on average, 15
people per college taught one or more remedial courses in fall
Thirty percent of all college freshmen took at least one remedial
course in fall 1989. Twenty-one percent took mathematics,
16 percent writing, and 13 percent reading.
At institutions with a predominantly minority student body, 55
percent of freshmen enrolled in at least one remedial course; at
institutions with a predominantly non minority student body, 27
percent of freshmen enrolled in at least one remedial course.
Approximately 17 percent of institutions were unable to provide
enrollment data for freshmen in remedial courses. About 30
percent of institutions that provided remedial course enrollment
data were unable to provide racial/ethnic breakdowns.
Remedial courses were passed by 77 percent of those taking
remedial reading, 73 percent taking remedial writing and 67
percent taking remedial mathematics.
Approximately one-fourth of institutions were unable to provide
passing rates for freshmen in remedial courses, and about one half
were unable to provide passing rates by racial/ethnic
About 20 percent of colleges offering remedial education had a
separate remedial department or division; 98 percent offered at
least one support service, such as peer tutoring and counseling;
and 97 percent of institutions conducted at least one evaluation
of remedial programs, such as reviewing student completion
rates of remedial courses.
Approximately 20 percent of colleges awarded degree credit for
remedial courses. About two-thirds awarded institutional credit,
which counted in determining full-time status but not toward
degree completion. One-tenth awarded no credit at all for such
Remedial courses were required for students not meeting
institutional standards in 68 percent of colleges offering
remedial writing, 63 percent offering remedial mathematics, and
54 percent offering remedial reading.
About 90 percent of institutions providing remedial courses used
placement tests to select participants for remedial courses;
remedial-course exit skills were based on regular academic course
entry skills by 86 percent of institutions for remedial
mathematics courses, by 81 percent for remedial writing courses,
and by 70 percent for remedial reading courses.
One-third of colleges providing remedial education allowed
students to take any regular academic courses while taking
remedial courses; in only 2 percent could students take no
regular academic courses while taking remedial courses.
Forty percent of colleges providing remedial courses were not
engaged in any activities to reduce the need for remedial
education. Fifty-four percent communicated with high schools
about skills needed for college work, and 19 percent participated
in or organized workshops for high school faculty.
Forty-seven percent of institutions were unable to provide
retention rates to the second year for freshmen who had
enrolled in at least one remedial course, and approximately 66
percent of institutions were unable to provide these rates by
Eighty-one percent of colleges did not maintain baccalaureate
degree graduation rates for entering freshmen who enrolled in
at least one remedial course, and 87 percent did not maintain
graduation rates by racial/ethnic group for these students.
Institutions offering one or more remedial courses in reading,
writing, or mathematics decreased from 82 percent in 1983-84 to
74 percent in 1989-90.