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College alters remedial class system
His career in college admissions has taught Clayton Daniels that accepting students is only half the objective.

Ensuring students are able to graduate is the other half.

"Our job is not just bringing people in," he said. "It is also to make sure they walk across the stage to get their degree."

Daniels, assistant vice president for enrollment management at College of Coastal Georgia, oversees the Complete College America initiative.

Under the initiative, the college has revamped the structure of its learning support, or remedial, classes over the last two years.

The aim is to increase the number of college students who complete their studies in a timely fashion of six years or less.

A similar structure is now being adopted by the entire University System of Georgia to decrease the number of students entering college who need learning support.

Under statewide rules going into effect in the fall semester, college students requiring too much remedial help in math and English can be blocked from attending Georgia colleges. Schools can also kick out students who fail remedial classes multiple times.

Remedial classes will still be offered, Daniels said, but they will be handled differently.

Under the old system, students would sometimes require an entire year of what amounted to high school classes before moving onto the real rigor of college courses, he said.

"That led to lower completion rates," he said.

The new system is designed to decrease both the number of students who need learning support and how much they need when they enter college.

Forming partnerships with local school systems and technical colleges to properly prepare students has been key in decreasing the number of remedial students at the college, Daniels said.

It has worked well in Brunswick, lowering the number of students in need of remedial classes by 67 percent in just two years.

In 2010, College of Coastal Georgia accepted 824 students who needed learning support, he said.

That number dropped to 590 in 2011 and is currently 275 for this academic year. Daniels expects total enrollment at the college this year to be around 3,500 students.

"It has really been a chance for all of us to adapt to what students need to be successful," he said.

Rather than putting all remedial students in high school level courses, Daniels said putting them in normal college level classes and offering outside help keeps them on track for graduation within five or six years.

"We are dealing with a changing environment," Daniels said. "Colleges are being held accountable for what they produce."

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