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4/6/2017 12:10:00 PM
Holcomb: More STEM means less remediation for those headed to post-secondary schooling

Scott L. Miley, News and Tribune CNHI Statehouse Bureau

INDIANAPOLIS — Additional courses in science, math and engineering may be one way to better prepare high school graduates for college, according to Gov. Eric Holcomb.

The Indiana Department of Education began developing a statewide plan for K-12 programs in science, technology, education and mathematics in 2012.

Last month, however, Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers announced that while more Hoosiers are graduating from high school prepared for college-level classwork, nearly 20 percent of recent high school graduates were not academically prepared to take courses that counted toward their majors, particularly in math.

While 3 percent of Honors Diploma graduates required remediation in college, the rate for remediation increased to 20 percent for Core 40 Diploma students and to 50 percent of General Diploma graduates.

In one response, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education developed a gauge to determine if college-bound students are on track to complete their degrees. Factors include completing all credits, staying into their second year of college and enrolling in only non-remedial courses. To that end, 93 percent of all Hoosier students met one of the factors but 44 percent met all three.

On Tuesday, about 200 educators gathered at the Indianapolis Marriott North to discuss ways to chart student progress from education into employment. Holcomb and Lubbers spoke to attendees after lunch.

Following the talk, Holcomb said he was pleased that the numbers, while realistic, show the need to tackle the issue.

Holcomb said he was encouraged by a growing statewide emphasis to implement STEM programs.

"We know that we absolutely have to, not just hone in, but develop a more robust STEM program. So we're going to continue, from the governor's office throughout state government, we'll continue to shine a light on the need for our students to be able to excel in science, technology, engineering and math."

Lubbers touted the state's Workforce Ready, grant which is being considered as part of House Bill 1008. The state established a goal in which 60 percent of Hoosiers will have a quality degree or credential beyond high school by 2025.

Currently about 21 percent of Indiana's workforce has some college but no degree.

The grant would pay for adults to earn a certificate in high-demand areas.

"Obviously, we're trying to make sure more students are prepared when they go to college so they don't need remediation," Lubbers said.

Of the grant, she said the state would work with employers to determine the high-demand areas. "We want to make sure people come back to those areas."

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