The Colorado Springs campus of Colorado College. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

By Erica Meltzer, Chalkbeat Colorado

More than a third of Colorado students who graduated from high school in 2017 were flagged as needing additional help in reading or math to do college-level work.

This number has barely budged in the 17 years that the Colorado Department of Higher Education has reported on developmental education needs, previously known as remediation, and it’s long been used to point a finger of blame at the state’s high schools for not adequately preparing their graduates.

The 2019 developmental education report released Monday tracks the academic course of 2017 high school graduates who enrolled in higher ed institutions in Colorado. About 35% of that group was placed in developmental education. That’s slightly less than last year but slightly more than in 2013 or 2014.

Students identified as needing developmental education, usually through a placement test, must take basic courses in English or math before they can enroll in introductory college-level classes. Those courses cost students money but don’t earn them credits toward graduation. These students are more likely to not finish college at all and more likely to earn certificates and associate degrees rather than complete four-year programs.

And students of color, students from low-income families, and women are all more likely to be assessed as needing developmental education.

So the stakes are high.


Chalkbeat Colorado

Twitter: @ChalkbeatCO