‘Remediation’ Needs to Be Scrapped

Learn Why We Value Readiness Over Traditional College Placement

Ahrash N. Bissell, NROC President

March 2, 2021

Recently, an article came across my desk that felt like it could have been written by any of us here at The NROC Project. The article, “Who Needs Remediation?,” by Dr. Alexandra W. Logue, echoes many of the core motivations of our organization's work.

In brief, Dr. Logue argues that the many problems with the current practices around ‘remediation’, ‘developmental education’, and related concepts are well documented, but rather than focus on improving those practices as defined, we would be better off scrapping the entire conceptual framework around those terms.

I completely agree with that premise. As the article details, the concept of ‘remediation’ requires acceptance of a very particular model of knowledge-acquisition and mastery, coupled with a set of policy assumptions around the pace at which that model plays out among our student populations. Despite the fact that these assumptions have been well disproven, logistical challenges seemed to limit options for improvement. However, things have changed, and we are seeing positive impacts from capable technologies, supportive policies, and a renewed emphasis on equity.

Several years ago, we began promoting this idea: “No student should be labeled remedial, just as no student should be assumed to be perfectly prepared. All students benefit from personalized support.” It was usually an uphill battle to bring others around to that perspective, but I think we may finally be breaking through the logjam.

As Dr. Logue writes, “[L]et us make our higher education systems and processes person-centered, dedicated to the success of every individual. Let us acknowledge that no one needs remediation.” 

Learn Why We Value Readiness Over Traditional College PlacementLearn Why We Value Readiness Over Traditional College Placement