Teachers College, Columbia University

Learning to Fail? How Repeating Remedial Math Courses in Community College Affects Postsecondary Aspirations

Date and Time: April 08, 2021 5:00–6:00 PM EST
Location: Online

Students are referred to college remediation in math when they are deemed not college-ready as a result of performance on placement tests. Only a minority of remedially-placed students ever complete remediation and gain access to college-level coursework. The field has long assumed that a key reason few students complete remedial requirements is that placement into remediation lowers postsecondary aspirations. To examine how taking remedial courses affects postsecondary aspirations, this mixed-methods study focuses on students who fail and repeat remedial math courses, called “repeaters,” in community colleges. Sixty percent of students who failed or withdrew from remedial math courses repeated them to make academic progress. The majority of repeaters maintained postsecondary aspirations and confidence that they would complete a postsecondary degree.


Senior Research Associate
Community College Research Center