By: Daniel Johnson, Staff Reporter
A recent bill, proposed by Governor Susana Martinez, could lower the number of students who need remedial courses at CNM.
The “No Social Promotions” education reform bill calls for public school teachers’ salaries to be based on the success of their students, as an attempt to improve low test scores in the state.
Department Chair of Reading and College Success Kenneth Chavez said the proposed bill could be the first step to looking at and adjusting education across the state as a whole.
“Success on a high school level may need to be judged off of mental preparedness as well as intellectual development to ensure that students are receiving the education necessary to move onto the next level,” he said.
C o m p u t e r Programming Major Daniel Ball said he is enrolled in Remedial Math, English and Reading classes. He said he is in those classes because his high school teachers did not care about the success of their students.
“I think a salary based on success would have changed where I am now because my teachers did not really pay attention to the students, they just gave us our work sheets and said ‘Here you go. Work on this,’” he said.
Liberal Arts Major Lara Sullivan said she feels that she is in need of the remedial courses coming into college from high school.
Failing a class would be a possibility if she had been placed in a higher-level class, she said. She said that her need for remedial classes had to do with her teachers as well.
“If the pay rate was changed, teachers might have more incentive to educate students better and then we would also see if there are some teachers who should just not teach,” said Sullivan.
Chair of Developmental English, ESL, and GED Education Amy Christensen said measuring success of a student is difficult because it cannot be recorded through tests alone. It involves time management, note taking and studying.
“We are trying to get a couple of educational boot camps together to allow students to brush up on skills before entering a remedial course, to allow them an opportunity to test up to college level courses,” she said.
Most incoming students want to get through the remedial courses as fast as possible, said Christensen.
Chair of Developmental Math Nancee Mancel said she cannot speak for APS, but she believes the real problem is more than just student success in high school.
“We are not advising students as well as we should to study for Accuplacer tests. We would have fewer students in remedial math if we pushed how high the stakes are for that test,” she said.
Students fresh out of high school may know most of the material when they graduate, but they still score low on the test, she said.
“I feel it is CNM’s fault for not pushing students to study more,” said Mancel.
There are 229 sections of developmental math offered, including math 550, 750, 930, 940, and 950 with a 96 percent fill rate for those classes, she said.
“That is more than 4,000 students enrolled in remedial Math courses alone,” said Mancel.
Ball said the bill would help to make New Mexico look better on a national level.
“I support the bill and I wish Governor Martinez could get something set up like that for the college level as well,” he said.