States News Roundup
Virginia's first statewide study to track high school students entering college has found that nearly one in seven during the last school year required remedial classes in mathematics, English, or reading.
Released last month by the state's council of higher education, the study tracked in-state high school graduates who attended 39 state-supported colleges and universities as freshmen for the school years 1989-90 and 1991-92.
Of the 23,999 students who went to college in 1991-92, 3,405, or more than 14 percent, required remedial courses, the survey found. While 14.5 percent of public school graduates required remediation, only 8.9 percent of private school students required remedial classes for that school year.
Virginia State University reported that 79 percent of its freshman students were taking remedial courses, the highest for any college studied.
The survey, created to inform high school administrators of student progress in college, was broken down by individual high schools, districts, and regions throughout the state.
Among other results, more than 86 percent of first-time freshmen returned to school for the spring semester, and the median freshman grade-point average was 2.38 on a 4-point scale.
The council will gather and distribute information on freshman performance annually, according to Jim Alessio, the council's associate director for research and information systems.
Colorado 13-year-olds significantly outperformed their peers in the United States and six other nations in an international test of geography knowledge and skills.
The 24-question test, conducted in 1991 by the Educational Testing Service, was administered to students in nine nations. The results of the international comparisons, which showed that 13-year-olds in the United States performed at the nine-nation average, were released in July.
To gauge the performance of its students, Colorado paid to administer the test to 6,449 students in 190 schools across the state.
The results showed that only students from Hungary outperformed Colorado students. In addition, only one in five 13-year-olds in the state was taking a separate geography course at the time of the assessment; they did not perform as well as students who were not enrolled in such a course.
However, the study found, most students said they studied geography
topics "some'' or "a lot'' in other coursework, such as science or