While the number of Summit High School graduates who need remediation in college isn't as high as the state average, the Summit School District Board of Education wants to see it go down.
According to the recently released Colorado Commission on Higher Education's annual remediation report - based on data from spring 2011 high school graduates - the rate of Summit students who needed more instruction in at least one subject was 25.8 percent (24 out of 93 students), compared to a state average of 31.8 percent.
While Summit School District superintendent Heidi Pace and Summit High principal Drew Adkins both pointed out at Tuesday's board work session that Summit's rate is lower than the state's, boardmember J Kent McHose said he still wants to see it reduced.
"Directionally, we have to say we can't be satisfied and we wont be satisfied with anything above 20 percent," McHose said. The rest of the board agreed.
Summit's rate is up 5 percent from the year before; the figures were 20.5 percent in 2010 and 14.1 in 2009.
Across Colorado, the average percentage is up from 28.6 percent the year before. Mathematics remains the subject in which students need the most remedial education, followed by writing and reading.
In Summit, the number of students assigned to remediation by subject were: 19 in math, 10 in writing and 10 in reading.
The state cost of those remedial courses - through the Colorado Opportunity Fund, or COF assistance for resident students - is up to $22 million this year, up from $19 million in 2010.
"This is not intended to say to K-12 you failed," Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia said last week. "They've been very cooperative in finding solutions. They're facing some real challenges these days."
Garcia said some of the increase in remedial needs is attributed to changing demographics and increased enrollment among non-traditional students who have not been successful finding jobs.
The remediation report did find that. throughout Colorado, colleges are doing a better job of helping the students who need it complete classes and stick around for another year. Between 2007 and 2009, retention rates for remedial students increased by 19 percent at the two-year college level and 4 percent at the four-year level. The improvements suggest institutions throughout the Colorado post-secondary system are realizing gains in addressing students' academic needs.
"We are committed advocates for reforming remedial education with the goal that all students are ready for college-level work," said Garcia, who also serves as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. "We must continue to collaborate with our colleges and universities, school districts and private partners to meet the needs of the state's increasingly diverse students and increase the number of well-educated Coloradans."
The Denver Post contributed to this article.