The College Puzzle Blog
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Dr. Michael W. Kirst

Michael W. Kirst is Professor Emeritus of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University since 1969.
Dr. Kirst received his Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard. Before joining the Stanford University faculty, Dr. Kirst held several positions with the federal government, including Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty. He was a former president of the California State Board of Education. His book From High School to College with Andrea Venezia was published by Jossey Bass in 2004.

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My blog discusses the important and complex subjects of college completion, college success, student risk factors (for failing), college readiness, and academic preparation. I will explore the pieces of the college puzzle that heavily influence, if not determine, college success rates.

Remediation Effectiveness Studies Do Not Include Most Students

The July 4 Chronicle of Higher Education has an article "3 New Studies Ouestion the Value of Remediatial College Courses". These studies all report little impact in terms of college completion upon students who took remedial courses, or any substantial impact upon college persistence of at least one year. One of the studies found that remediation did not extend how long it took students to complete college. But the article stresses the way these studies were designed means only a minority of students who are in college remediation are included. Specifically, the studies excluded first year college students who had no chance of going into regular academic courses, and focused only on students near the placement test cut point for needing remedial placement. Since between 65 and 80% of community college students who come from high school need remdiation, these studies do not include the bulk of remedial students.
The authors of the studies acknowledge their limitations and say only a random assignment study could begin to get at the students who were not close to the test cut point.

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