TRANSPARENCY TUESDAY: Are college students wasting time and money re-learning high school coursework?

When students arrive on campus underprepared for the rigors of college coursework, everybody pays. Colleges must invest in offering "developmental" classes in math and English, and students end up paying full-freight tuition for courses that generally do not count toward the credit-hours needed for a degree.The cost of remedial education -- and whether it's being over-used -- is a topic of intense focus in the education press and in the school reform field. A recently published study shows that a rising percentage of Colorado high school graduates -- as many as 60 percent in some municipalities -- require remediation when they enter college.While such statistics suggest colleges are overrun with academic stragglers, there is in fact some indication that developmental courses are being over-prescribed because of unreliable placement tests, and that a substantial share of those enrolled in remedial coursework don't need to be there.Student journalists should take advantage of the many publicly available databases and reports to localize this phenomenon on their own campuses.The expense of remedial coursework -- paying college tuition prices for what should've been taught in high school at no cost -- is part of the larger story about soaring college costs and student loan debt, and it's part of the reason so many students need more than the traditional four years to earn a degree.