There Is an Alternative to Remedial Education

  • Michael Kidda Johnson C. Smith University
  • Joseph Turner Johnson C. Smith University
  • Frank E. Parker Teaching and Learning Center
Keywords: Undergraduate Education, Assessment, Remedial Education, First Year Studies


Assessment of retention and academic performance of first-year students led Johnson C. Smith University, a small, historically black college, to eliminate all remedial courses and to develop an innovative Freshman Studies curriculum. It is standard for all freshmen and features inquiry-based instruction, long-term mentoring, and readily available personal and academic support. Ongoing assessment of the new curriculum indicated dramatic increases in retention, academic performance, and cognitive-affective growth. The article reviews events leading to the Freshman Studies curriculum, describes curriculum and assessment strategies, and discusses the reasons for the success of the program.