Only one percent of those needing help, attend college preparation course.

There’s a disconnect between the high school graduation requirements and what it takes for those graduates to get ready for college instruction. Half the freshman class enrolling each fall at Rock Valley College are required to take remedial courses.

Efforts are being made by RVC, and the Rockford and Harlem school districts, to align the curriculum to prepare students for the transition from high school to RVC to reduce the need for developmental efforts before enrolling in college level courses.

Similar efforts have been tried in Elgin, between the community college and the public high schools. The efforts to help the students prepare for their college experience was taught jointly by RVC and a public schools. Also, small class sizes offered plenty of one on one instruction to help the students.

The problem was that 500 students were identified as needing this particular help in order to be ready for college and the program was free for the students, but unbelievably only 20 students even bothered to enroll in the program, and only five regularly attended classes.

It is truly sad that only five students out of 500 made any effort to take advantage of hundreds of hours of work done by the faculty of RVC and the teachers from the school districts in preparation to help these students who had graduated without the credentials to make it at the college level.

Is it any wonder why our population is below the average in being awarded four year degrees or why we have such poverty, high unemployment and crime in our area?

One student, who initially wasn’t looking forward to enrolling in the program, after attending said he was glad that his mom told him to do it. Too bad some of the other 500 moms didn’t do the same!



  1. Bottomline is dumb parents have dumb kids. You can’t expect dumb parents to understand the value of an education.

    My oldest is an honor roll student. She wasn’t always good in school. Maybe it was her 5th grade year things started clicking for her. That year even though she made honor roll i signed her up for summer school. Things were going good and i didn’t want her to lose momentum. PUSH PUSH PUSH.

  2. westhighschoolalumna

    Many kids have no idea of what will be required of them in college. If they’ve done well in high school, they assume they will do well in college. Local schools give students nightly homework and monitor its completion. Rock Valley sometimes takes the same approach, which is more like high school. Most universities, however, expect students to take responsibility for their work and don’t monitor daily. Sometimes students arrive at college and realize that their peers have had a totally different educational experience than they have with many more advanced courses offered at their schools, etc. At that point, students realize their shortcomings but are then forced into remedial work. This is especially true in math and science.

  3. Ted Biondo

    westhighschoolalumna – Welcome to the blog.

    I agree that many students in high school have no idea what is required in college. That’s why the schools should have counselors to explain and the HS curriculum should prepare them for college.

    I disagree with you however concerning RVC. It is not like high school. The work in the associate degree programs are trasferrable to many four-year colleges and meets the same criterion as 4 year colleges or it’s not allowed to be transferred.

    What I’d like to know is how do 50% of our HS graduates graduate this unprepared? Doesn’t anyone ask the students in their freshman year what they intend to do when they graduate? We don’t think they would know – is not an acceptable answer – it needs to be asked and followed up and the students placed on the correct path.

    Fifty percent or more of the students graduating today can’t do the work at RVC and of those in remedial courses, only about 18% succeed. They never get to the regular courses because they are so unprepared for the rigors of college.

    You are right, however, that RVC tries a lot harder to see the students succeed with regular assignments and followups much more than many four year colleges which tell students up front, here is the work, figure out what you must do, listen in class and if you fail, your outta here, because there are a heck of a lot more students ready to take your place who will do the work!

  4. SNuss

    It seems that schools are not focusing on the basics nearly as much as they should. They implement all these “social engineering” programs, rather than concentrating on real-world education, like the vo-tech programs that once existed.

    Ted, on another subject, the Liberals in Wisconsin are throwing another fit, because jail inmates are being used to do maintenance work on government property, in place of union workers. This saves the State a lot of money. See the Leftists whine and cry.at: http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/07/06/261319/scott-walker-prison-labor/

  5. Kathy

    There goes SNuss again, completely off-topic in the second half of his comment!

    I went to RVC many years ago and took a couple of remedial classes myself. I then transferred to a State University, where I was ready and able to excel. I am using myself as an example. I can’t say enough about RVC. Exactly what does SNuss mean by “social engineering” programs? Has he been in school lately? Chemistry? Biology? College Algebra? English Composition? World Geography (taught by Norm Kearney by the way)? Botany? Those are a few of the classes I took. Those classes still exist at RVC. RVC is a hidden gem and the Administration is doing a great job working with local school districts. I recommend RVC to many, many parents with students who can’t decide on and/or can’t afford a larger university. I totally agree with SNuss about vo-tech programs though.

  6. Dan F

    This story breaks my heart.

    I graduated from West High in 1975. In the summer of 1974, between my high school junior and senior years, I took freshman chemistry at Rock Valley College. My teachers and counselors at West High supported me totally, even though my friends thought I was a bit strange for studying chemistry over the summer.

    It was a wonderful experience and really got me excited about college. How times change.

    I heard West High is now a middle school? (I left Rockford in 1977.)

  7. SNuss

    Kathy, I happened to attend RVC, and have a great deal of respect for what they do. I am talking about the failure of primary education to get students ready for college, or a vocational career. If remedial classes are necessary, it would seem that there must be a problem with the student, with the school, or both.

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