Legislation signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence will require high schools throughout Indiana to do a better job of determining whether their students are ready to go college.
The new law, House Enrolled Act 1005, was prompted in part by research that shows thousands of high school graduates, including those who graduated with academic honors, had to take basic remediation courses in math and English as college freshman.
Starting next school year, high schools will have to start identifying 11th graders who are at risk of failing their senior-year graduation exams or need remedial classes before beginning college work for credit. The law also requires high schools to start providing extra help to those students in their senior year.
The law isn’t just aimed at students who know they’ll go to college. It’s also intended to reduce the number of students allowed to graduate from high school without having to pass graduation exams. It compels high schools to test those students in their junior year to assess if they have the basic math and English skills to go into the workforce, and if not, to provide remedial help to them as well.
House Education Chairman Bob Behning of Indianapolis said the legislation will have the greatest statewide impact of any education bill passed in the 2013 session, and describes it as “the most important” education bill passed this year.
Every year, more than 10,000 college freshman who’ve graduated from Indiana high schools are required to take remedial classes that give them no college credits but cost the same as a for-credit course, according to the Indiana Commission on Higher Education.
“The legislation establishes a backstop so that any need for remediation will be identified and can be addressed in high school,” said State Rep. Ed Clere, a New Albany Republican who authored the bill. “Too many students enter college unprepared and in need of remediation. Very few of those students graduate on time, and many never graduate at all.”