Fewer Johnson County students need to take extra math or English classes to be ready for college-level courses once they graduate, according to a new state report.
About 18 percent of high school students needed to take remedial courses in English or math when starting college in 2014, the most recent year available, which is down from 25 percent in 2013 and 34 percent in 2012. The numbers come from an annual report on college readiness from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.
Within the last five years, local school districts have made an effort to offer more upper-level courses in their high schools, as a way to prepare students for college, local school officials said.
For example, eight college-level courses were added this school year at Whiteland Community High School, and officials want each student to earn at least nine college credits before they graduate.
Franklin Community High School will be revamping their Advanced Placement classes this fall so the courses stay as competitive as a traditional college class. Officials have been trying to create more partnerships with local colleges or organizations that offer AP or dual-credit classes so more students are able to take the more rigorous courses, said Franklin Community High School assistant principal Scott Martin.
Offering those higher-level courses is part of an effort to make sure students are prepared for the class expectations and increased rigor that college will demand once they graduate, school officials said.
“Our big focus is on dual-credit courses. We lean heavily toward dual-credit because it’s money in the bank for students,” said Greenwood Community High School director of guidance Bill Ronk said.
“The majority of our seniors will take at least one dual-credit course in their high school career.”
By offering dual-credit or Advanced Placement courses, students can take one or two college-level courses while balancing the rest of their schedule with traditional high school classes, Ronk said. Students can spend more time focusing on one or two tougher subjects during the school year, instead of waiting until college and then being overloaded by the amount of homework and studying needed in each class, Ronk said.
And by getting those college courses done while still in high school, it won’t be as overwhelming to continue to get a two- or four-year degree, he said.
Franklin educators have been seeing an improvement in student achievement through teaching the classes differently, Martin said.
For example, if a student is not understanding the content, or they are struggling with a concept in the class, teachers can turn to other staff members to find other ways to make the students understand the course material, he said.
“We’ve done that for years now, and I think it’s really paying dividends,” Martin said.
Here’s a look at the percentage of Johnson County students needed to take remedial courses in math and English after graduating high school:
Source: Indiana Commission for Higher Education