CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Separate studies released in the past week show West Virginia with one of the nation’s highest high school graduation rates while at the same time a larger percentage of those graduates having to take remedial courses when they get to college.
It’s a situation that has drawn the attention of many including state Higher Education Chancellor Dr. Paul Hill. He told MetroNews Monday students need to do better in high school to get a good start in college.
“Those students that have a 3.0 in high school or above really do well or persist when they do get to college,” he said. “There is this review nationally of looking at test scores versus high school and we are seeing a lot more interest in the high school numbers these days.”
State School Superintendent Dr. Steve Paine recently told state lawmakers there was a need to focus on quality education in high school. Hill wants to catch students who are struggling in Math and English before their senior years. He said a handful of high schools are offering co-requisite classes as part of a pilot project.
“We are looking forward very much that that might bear fruit,” Hill said.
The HEPC moved last year to remove non-credit earning developmental courses in a few four-year schools in hopes of encouraging more students to stay in college. The numbers after one year are positive, Hill said Monday.
“Fairmont State, for example, had a 28 percent passage rate in math (developmental courses) and that’s now up to 81 percent for those same students,” Hill said. “Glenville did 13.5 percent and it’s all the way to 46 percent.”
Students earn credit for co-requisite classes in exchange for working a little harder and longer than the former developmental, non-credit, classes required. The HEPC hopes to have 80 percent of all students who need remedial education in co-requisite courses by 2018 and then push that to 100 percent by 2020.
Hill supports further moving that model into high school.
“We just need to begin working backward now–still using that model with the high schools–we think we are going to see some real progress,” Hill predicted.
West Virginia’s 2016-17 graduation rate was 89.40 percent, which was a little lower than the previous year. The other study released during last week’s meeting of the Council of Community and Technical Colleges showed about a one-third of 2016 graduates had to take remedial classes when they got to the state’s colleges and universities.