Remedial courses in math, English to phase out

Katie Smith

Ohio’s new remediation-free standards are set to change freshman-level math and English courses in Fall 2014.

Andrew Tonge, chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, said Complete College Ohio, which is designed to boost graduation rates, found that students who are put into remedial classes are less likely to graduate than those who aren’t.

“So the state came up with some guidelines to try to steer students out of remedial courses in math or English,” Tonge said.

He said all courses taught in Kent State’s Math Emporium are remedial, so changes to the curriculum are unavoidable.

“The state has come up with (new) ACT guidelines, so now if a student gets a 22 or higher on the math ACT or the equivalent on the SAT, then we must make available for them a nonremedial course,” Tonge said.

To meet the new ACT and SAT threshold, Tonge said the Department of Mathematical Sciences is working to make new courses available for students, such as a new statistics course.

“We’re modifying our current statistics course to make it accessible to students whose background in algebra is weaker than it was for what was needed in the previous course,” Tonge said.

While modeling algebra will still be a course at Kent State, Tonge said he anticipates more students will take the statistics course because it will be more relevant to their majors.

In addition to the statistics course, he said professors in the Department of Mathematical Sciences are changing the Exploration in Modern Mathematics course so it doesn’t require more advanced algebra.

Tonge said this will probably be a benefit for students in non-math-intensive majors, and students will get through their math requirements much faster.

The Department of Mathematical Sciences will most likely run pilot classes in the spring, but Tonge said nothing is finalized yet.

English department chair Robert Trogdon said his department is going through similar changes but is currently unsure what the future curriculum looks like.

“We don’t know exactly quite yet what will be different,” Trogdon said.

According to, under this new state mandate, students who score an 18 or higher on the English portion of the ACT cannot be placed into a remedial English course.

Currently, students who score a 16 or below on the English portion of the ACT are enrolled into a two-semester college writing class called College Writing Stretch, and Trogdon said these courses are going to see a lot of changes.

“We have to make modifications to those courses,” Trogdon said. “Right now, we’re looking into several different options to take the place of those courses.”

Trogdon admits these changes were unexpected, the remediation-free standards could be for the better. Tonge agreed.

“This is not a change we were looking for, but I think overall it will probably have a positive impact,” Tonge said.

Contact Katie Smith at [email protected].