English and mathematics.
The ABCs and the 1-2-3's of education.
College-bound students are not getting off to the best start after high school because they must take basic math and English courses. While college freshmen are taking remedial courses, they falling behind on their path to graduation. This is bad.
I was ranked forty-seventh in a class of over three hundred fifty students. Even with top grades in math, my SAT math scores were low (never take your SAT after a Friday night football game). Since colleges use test scores to place freshman in math and English courses, I took two remedial math courses before starting College Algebra. Three months prior to college, I was taking an honors Trigonometry and Analysis final.
IHEPs Access to Attainment reported that fifty percent of college-bound freshman require remediation with twenty percent taking three or more remedial courses.
Meredith Kolodner (Hechinger Report) shared that seventy-five percent of California community college students are “unprepared” for college when they arrive. Seventy-five! What does this mean? Students have to complete their remedial classes before enrolling in college-level math and English courses. In Nevada, fifty-three percent of freshman entering a four-year university were required to enroll in remedial courses.
Thirty-four percent of students did not meet any of the four ACT benchmarks in 2015. The National Conference of State Legislatures posted that "forty-one percent of Hispanic students and forty-two percent of African-American students require remediation, compared to thirty-one percent of white students."
Emily Deruy of The Mercury News reported that forty percent of freshman entering a California State University campus have to take remedial math or English. Koldner reported that only twenty percent of remedial math students make it to College Algebra. While learning math and English is important, studying high school level math in college is holding students back.
Here are four ways that remedial courses affect college-bound students.  It costs money and time. The average 3-hour credit class costs $594 per credit hour. So does a college freshman want to spend $1,782 in a high-school level class?  Remedial courses do not count toward their degree plan.  These courses are designed for students who scored low a standardized placement test.  These courses are seen as more of a barrier than a passageway to a degree.
Schools and organizations are looking for solutions to remedial courses. In high school, students would benefit from free after-school tutoring. IHEP recommends that schools identify students who need remediation before graduating and offer proven remediation practices. Kolodner shared other proposed solutions including Common Core State Standards and addressing the misalignment between college readiness and high school exit standards.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STUDENTS
If you are a student or parent, I recommend completing a learning assessment to identify ways to improve study habits at home and at school.
I also recommend connecting with a math and English tutor. You can choose from online sources or classroom teachers. Some parents pay thousands of dollars to help their children improve their baseball swing and free throw percentage. But paying a few hundred dollars to improve your sentence structure and numerical reasoning skills is worth a lifetime of benefits.
The good news is that during my third semester at college, I became a math tutor. Yes, even though I had to take remedial courses, I mastered the subject matter. Contact me if you need some additional recommendations. Together, we can do better.
Updated: August 2, 2017
Through student ministry and educational consulting (career and college planning), I have enjoyed guiding teenagers to discover their higher calling.