Rethinking remedial classes

Students in remedial classes are tested plenty, but don’t have the chance to apply skills outside the classroom, Grubb says.

Longtime Berkeley professor W. Norton Grubb is one of the leading researchers of the community college system. His latest study, “Basic Skills Education in Community Colleges: Inside and Outside of Classrooms,” took more than three years to complete and led him to 20 California community colleges and 180 classrooms.

It is, perhaps, the most comprehensive portrait to date of the current state of remedial education.

But his findings may be somewhat disheartening to both teachers and students alike. Grubb was shocked to discover that most professors were clinging to an outdated approach to teaching basic math, reading and writing.

“The dominant form of teaching in these classes is this: Drill and practice on small sub-skills without ever getting to the larger competencies that are really important,” says Grubb. “The teaching is often totally decontextualized. There’s no application to anything outside the classroom. It’s just these freestanding exercises. So the students can’t see the relevance to the world outside the classroom.”

Although teachers often readily admitted this was not the best method, Grubb found they typically struggled to shift to modern techniques. Various forms of professional development already exist for these professors, but Grubb advocates for a thorough basic skills teacher certification process. 

“This idea is not popular in higher education. But it’s the pattern in K-12 education: People need to have certificates before they can start in the classroom,” he explains.  “With very few exceptions, that’s not true in higher education, because they want to distinguish themselves from K-12.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Local

African couple claiming misidentification in robbery case to…

At a bail hearing today for Vickson and Lorfu Korlewala, charged in the robbery of an 80-year-old woman, bail was reduced from $1 million total to $500,000.

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.