Students who fare well in a new high school English course are guaranteed to enter credit-bearing English classes at Delaware colleges and universities.

The Foundations of College English course was developed through funding from Strada Education Network in partnership with the Delaware Department of Education and Delaware institutions of higher education to reduce college remediation rates. This course was designed to complement the Foundations of College Math course, which was developed and launched in 2014.

Of all Delaware public high school graduates who enter an in-state college or university, 41 percent require remedial education courses in mathematics or English, according to the state’s 2017 College Success Report. About 24 percent require remedial coursework in English. Students who do not score well on college placement tests may be forced to take remedial English courses prior to enrolling in credit bearing coursework. These non-credit, remedial courses often cost the same as credit-bearing classes but don’t count toward a student’s degree.

The Foundations of College English was piloted in fall 2016 across six high schools as part of the state-model Allied Health career and technical education program of study. Schools identify students for the foundations course based on their PSAT and SAT scores. The Foundations of College English course was then offered to students as an elective course to ensure students are able to pursue continuing education without the need for remediation.

Participating pilot schools include Appoquinimink School District’s Appoquinimink and Middletown high schools; Indian River School District’s Indian River and Sussex Central high schools; Milford School District’s Milford High School; and Smyrna School District’s Smyrna High School. Any public high school can offer the class in 2019.

A U.S. Department of Education study found that less than half of students in remedial courses actually complete them, and 17 percent of remedial reading students and 27 percent of remedial math students complete their bachelor’s degrees.

The Foundations of College English course was designed by Delaware Technical Community College. A series of online modules also were created to supplement the course and/or to be embedded in other English language arts coursework for junior or senior high school students.

Students who earn a 75 percent or better in the course are guaranteed entry into credit-bearing English language arts coursework at Goldey Beacom College, Delaware State University, Delaware Technical Community College, University of Delaware, Wesley College and Wilmington University.