Remedial classes see decline
Posted on Aug 24, 2012 in News
Freshmen enrollment in remedial math sees decrease, while English still worries
As UAB’s student enrollment continues to climb with each year, the number of students taking remedial math classes is on decline.
The percentage of freshmen in remedial mathematics courses has steadily decreased since 2008. In 2012, 474 students were enrolled in Mathematics 098. This is an 11 percent decrease from the fall of 2008 where 33.4 percent of the incoming freshmen class was enrolled in a remedial math course.
Based on estimations of freshmen enrollment for this fall’s class of 2016 and current remedial courses registration data, this trend appears to continue. The percent of students registered in remedial math this fall are expected to decrease based on last year’s fall enrollment.
The reason for this decrease is unknown. One potential explanation could be that UAB is accepting students more competent in mathematics. The 25th percentile of the class of 2014 scored an 18 on the math portion of the ACT. This score improved to a 20 in 2011.
Another possibility is that smaller mathematics classes have enhanced students’ learning experience. In 2008, the average class size was 54 students. In 2012, class sizes decreased by 11 percent.
These smaller classes likely benefited the students.
A study done by the University of Minnesota in 2010 has shown that there is a positive correlation between reduction in class sizes and improvement in student performance in mathematics and English.
Mathematics classes at UAB reduced in size from an increase in remedial mathematics section offerings. In 2008, eight sections of basic algebra were offered, all of which were filled to capacity.
In 2012, students could choose between 10 different basic algebra classes. Only two of these classes were filled to capacity.
Today, the class of 2015 has set the record for having the least number of students enrolled in remedial mathematics courses in the past five years. Despite these feats, these averages rank much lower than the national average. They reflect the even larger statistic that faces many of Alabama high school graduates: that Alabama is ranked 34th in the nation in student performance and progress.
The remedial English class numbers also demonstrate this. The percentage of freshmen enrolled in remedial English classes has fluctuated from 2008 to 2012. However, in 2011 there was a significant increase in the amount of students enrolled in remedial English compared to the fall of 2010 — a 4 percent jump from 2010 (7.8 percent) to 2011 (11.4 percent).
When analyzing the fall of 2011, freshmen that saw a record number in decreased enrollment in remedial math saw a drastically larger enrollment in remedial English.
As for 2012, estimating the English enrollment for this year using last year’s enrollment demonstrates another large gain in freshmen enrolled in remedial English by nearly 2 percent.
The fact that enrollment has continued to go up does not reflect greatly on the English standards for UAB freshmen. Using 2011’s total freshmen enrollment, the 2012 statistic will likely be worse considering the trend in increasing overall enrollment the past three years.
The 2011 figure would actually yield a percentage less than accurate, but not to UAB’s benefit.
Additional reporting by Nick Price and Bethany Mitchell.