By Denise Dick
The state has established new standards for college students to be deemed “not in need of remediation” in English, writing, math and science, but standards used by Youngstown State University already meet or exceed the new criteria.
The new uniform standards were announced as part of the state’s efforts to cut down on the number of students entering college in need of remedial course work.
About 41 percent of public high school students entering a public college or university in Ohio take at least one remedial course in English or math, according to the Ohio Board of Regents.
“We currently have too many students graduating from Ohio high schools who are not ready to enter the work place or be successful in non-remedial college coursework,” Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro said in a news release.
“These uniform standards will help make it clear to students, parents and educators exactly what is needed to be considered remediation-free at any Ohio public college and university.”
The new standards set a minimum English score of 18, reading scores of 21 and mathematics score of 22 on the ACT for a student to be considered remediation- free.
Julia Gergits, chairwoman of YSU’s English department, said 22 is the threshold for the ACT English score at YSU.
Students with a lower score would be placed in the beginning composition course.
Gergits said the department is working with the university’s writing center to ensure those students get to do well in that course.
“It makes sense to be consistent across the state,” she said of the new standards. “There are good reasons for that.”
Nathan Ritchey, chairman of YSU’s mathematics department, said YSU started using ACT and placement tests about five years ago to determine in what courses to place students.
YSU sets 22 as the minimum ACT math score to be considered remediation free.
“That’s the standard we’ve been following,” he said. “From math department’s point of view, it’s not going to affect any of our students. That’s the cutoff we’ve been using.”
A student with a 22 score, however, likely wouldn’t be able to take a higher level math course. An assessment would be directed in such a case.
“I think it’s nice, very helpful that the state set some standards and guidelines for universities in Ohio,” Ritchey said. “A college degree at each of the schools should be similar, I hope. College-level readiness should be consistent across the state. I like the guidelines. Unfortunately, there’s not much help in placing students below that.”
YSU generally uses placement exams to make those determinations.
The standards won’t replace individual college admission policies.
Michael Sawyers, Ohio’s acting superintendent of public instruction, said that the state needs to do a better job preparing students for career training and post-secondary education.
“Too many students are graduating from high school with too few options,” he said. “Students need to be prepared to succeed at the next level whether that be college or career training. Establishing a uniform and clear target for Ohio’s high school students, parents, educators and administrators will help deal with this.”