Representatives from Wyoming’s community colleges and its K-12 schools say those two systems need to improve their coordination to better educate students.
Right now, more than half of all students who graduate high school and go on to community college are still not deemed “college-ready”— and must take remedial classes.
At a Wyoming Department of Education policy summit last week, Laramie County Community College president Joe Schaffer said people tend to see remediation as a K-12 issue.
“There’s a perception that K-12 hasn’t done their job in preparing their graduates to succeed at the next level, but the way that higher education often responds is essentially by replicating the exact same approach that we did in high school,” says Schaeffer. “And we don’t do much better than the high schools do. The issue really needs to be getting together and looking at the complex aspects of developmental education and figuring out—‘is there a different way to solve this problem?’”
Wyoming’s rate of remediation among students attending two year colleges is in line with the national average.
“We are all trying hard to rethink the way we do developmental education,” says Scaheffer. “I think you would be hard-pressed to find any classroom in the community colleges here in the state that aren’t digging into and rethinking the way that they do this. And we’re using evidence, national research, promising practices—we’re doing it in the right way.”