According to Student Services, about 58 percent of incoming freshmen have to take developmental courses, but those classes can help prepare students for their college careers.
According to Hal Fulmer, the dean of undergraduate and first-year studies, 882 out of the 1,528 incoming freshmen this semester had to take remedial classes.
Students are placed in these classes after taking a placement test that determines what courses they are prepared for, Fulmer explained.
Currently, Troy provides six remedial courses in English and mathematics. In each department, the remedial courses provide the basic understanding required to tackle college-level classes. They often review high school material to ensure basic understanding.
Ashley Eakes-Henderson, a lecturer in the English department, and Kenneth Roblee, a professor and the chair of mathematics at Troy University, teach the remedial classes for the English and math departments, respectively.
“The ultimate goal of developmental classes is to support the students’ academic growth,” Roblee said. “We are here to support their academic growth, and if developmental classes is where they start, then we’re going to offer them the support that they need to get to where they want to be.”
Eakes-Henderson said she hears many students complaining that their high school teachers did not cover the material presented in the remedial courses or prepare them for their college-level courses.
She continued to say that the students often did not realize the importance of their classes and did not care or listen in high school because the subject was not important to them.
“I think that they don’t give their all often, and then when they get to college, they realize, ‘Oh, I need to know this,’” Eakes-Henderson said.
Even though students need to pay the same amount of money for these classes as regular classes, the remedial classes do not count toward the credits they need to graduate.
Even so, Eakes-Henderson said she can see a huge change in the students through the course and these classes are worth the money. She said that because students need to write papers in many classes, the remedial courses help students of every major, not just the English majors.
These courses can also help other students refresh the information they learned in high school so they can write better essays in college, she added.
“With any course, credit or not, there will be a tuition fee associated with that, but I think, though, that ultimately it’s for the good of the student, and we are looking out for the best of their academic interest,” Roblee said. “If we put them in a general-level class that they aren’t ready for, then it’s doing a disservice to the students because that’s not setting them up for success.”
Roblee explained that the math classes do more than just teach math. They also help students develop problem-solving skills, learn to work through any problem using a step-by-step approach, and understand abstract concepts and variables using logic.
“It depends on how each student is doing in their other classes,” Eakes-Henderson said. “However, I think that it’s fantastic if a student prefers to go get a specialized degree.”
While trade schools can be an alternative for students who want to work in a specific industry, getting a degree from a university can also help them in the bigger picture.
“Every student can progress with a degree,” Roblee said. “Generally speaking, if a student is enrolled here, then Troy is invested in the student.
“When a student is here, we think that with the right support and the student doing what they are supposed to do, they can progress towards a degree.”
Gus McKenzie, a senior communication major from Monroeville and the SGA president, said Student Services in Eldridge Hall has taken steps to improve their counseling for students in remedial courses.
“(The Student Success Center’s) big focus is helping (students in remedial courses) for long periods of time,” McKenzie said. “The advisement process has been revamped and rethought, and they’ve hired more staff over there.
“They’re trying to make students realize that, hey, you’re not necessarily behind depending on what your major is, but you need to pay attention to this and work harder.”