IT’S DISPIRITING to open a community college’s course catalog and see page after page of course descriptions on math fundamentals, including fractions and percentages. Massachusetts can cut down on this problem by testing students’ readiness for college work while they’re still in high school - and sparing them from spending their savings or financial aid on remediation courses that don’t even count toward graduation requirements.
Even one-year certificate programs, such as phlebotomy, require students to show the ability to do college-level work. Yet about 60 percent of incoming students at the state’s 15 community colleges are required to take one or more remedial courses. These courses eat up about one-third of all tuition and fees paid by students.