Monday, December 20, 2010

Montgomery College professor disputes Dr. Weast's claims about remedial class placement

I am a recently retired, long-time Montgomery College math faculty member.  Comments made by Dr. Weast [on the Kojo Nnamdi show on December 17] in response to a caller question about the high number of MCPS graduates who require remediation upon entry to MC are flat out inaccurate! It is absolutely NOT the case that students who score under 550 on the SATs are automatically placed into remedial classes. A 550 or higher only exempts such students from taking Accuplacer placement exams, making them eligible for college level, credit bearing courses in these areas. (This, by the way, is a standard practice and threshold score across the State.)  It is the student's score on this exam that then determines whether he/she requires a developmental level class.

As pointed out by the caller, it is true that a significant percentage of such students do demonstrate such a need, which then begs the question as to why MCPS graduates are unable to score sufficiently high on Accuplacer so as to not require enrollment in developmental classes. And assuming that Dr. Weast's response to this question would be that Accuplacer scores are also too high - again they're typical of what's used across the state for this purpose - then how would he explain the fact that the an inordinately high percentage of these students are, in fact, unable to pass their developmental classes?

Finally, Dr. Weast stated that the average MC student requires 5 to 7 years to graduate, comparing that to the shorter time-frame at Towson University.  In fact, I don't know what the average time to complete an AA degree at MC is, but I'm sure it's nothing close to 5 to 7 years for full-time students. Clearly, Dr. Weast is including the many part-time students who come to MC, students with an average credit load of 6 or 7 credits per semester, in his average time to graduation. Juuuust a bit misleading, don't you think?

I would certainly hope that you [Kojo Nnamdi] take a moment to correct these incredible misstatements about Montgomery College on the air -- good journalism demands no less.

Dr. Kenneth Weiner
Professor of Mathematics (retired), Montgomery College

Editor's note: Dr. Weiner recently retired from Montgomery College after 37 years on the math faculty.  He holds a Ph.D. in mathematical statistics from the University of Maryland.  Dr. Weiner is currently leading an initiative to reform the developmental math program at Montgomery College.


1 comment:

  1. Exaggerations, obfuscations, and misrepresentations say more about the individual than the students that he is responsible to prepare for higher education. Apparently, his lofty objectives to establish all day kindergarten and raise the SAT scores did not fair well in practice. Thus,shifting the blame to the receiving institution becomes plan B.

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