Co-Requisite Remediation Causes Concerns

At the recent TCCTA Conference for Faculty Leaders, the topic of Dual Credit probably took the prize for generating the most controversy these days. (A new report on Dual Credit from the University of Texas—involving all the UT system’s campuses—is expected soon, which will be the subject of subsequent posts.)

Based on conversations with TCCTA members, the forthcoming implementation of co-requisite remediation—required by a law passed in the most recent Regular Session of the Texas Legislature—is also causing great concern. For a journalistic overview, please have a look at this timely article by Matthew Watkins, in the Texas Tribune.

Co-requisite remediation has been covered here before in the context of pilot programs in Texas and programs in other states such as Tennessee. Now it will be policy in Texas.

As you can see from the article, colleges have some flexibility in how each school implements the new law. No single template is mandated by the statute. This is important, since each institution will face different challenges. For instance, larger schools with abundant part-time faculty and flexible scheduling will probably face fewer painful decisions. Some teachers worry that part-time students may not be able to fit into the new model.

Every instructor in the core curriculum at every college will likely be affected in some way. Needless to say, those who teach in developmental education will experience a transformation.

As the article indicates, funding based on enrollment could go down. However, it may be too early to tell if net revenue will be reduced over the coming years. Presumably if more students earn college credits and remain in school until graduation, funding from the instructional formula—based mostly on contact hour enrollment and student success—should increase.

The original bill called for 100 percent co-requisite remediation almost immediately, but the final version is more incremental, as you can see in the article. That’s good news. But, make no mistake, your college’s curriculum and schedule are going to change. There are pedagogical implications as well, with remediation blended into gateway classes instead of standing as discrete units.

It’s clear the Legislature is anxious to try something different with developmental education. States such as Tennessee have been watched carefully, and preliminary reports indicate positive results with co-requisite remediation. The logistics will be challenging, however.

As always, the details of implementation will be up to the Coordinating Board.