Northwest AEA

Transitioning from High School Blog

What are remedial classes?


If a student appears to be significantly behind the expected level for a class, a teacher may require him or her to take a remedial class. These classes act as a "safety valve" for struggling students, allowing them to work at a more appropriate level, rather than failing because they are not at the same level as the rest of the class.

My experience working with parents and educators many do not understand what the term Remedial Classes mean when it relates to post-secondary education.  I worked with a family whose son graduated from high school and was all set to go to Wit.  They were told he needed to take the CTP placement test.  He took the test.  He has some learning difficulties so he ended up not doing “well enough” on the test.  He ended up having to sign up for “remedial classes” before he could sign up for the classes he wanted to for his career choice.  Later the family found out he could have retaken the test to get a better score.   If he would have taken the test earlier in the application process he could  have identified areas that needed additional instruction and practice within the high school setting.  After this practice he could have then retake the test to possibly avoid the remedial classes.  

Remedial classes are often used to stress the basics in a subject such as math or language. They can help students who are having problems with advanced concepts to fully understand the basics of a subject. Students can also use them to catch up on material after a long break from education. Some people look upon remedial classes as embarrassing, but they can in fact be useful tools to gain a more complete grasp of difficult ideas or rules.  The thing to remember (for the majority of the time)  these classes per credit cost the same amount as other courses however in most cases they don’t toward the credits needed for the particular degree. 

If you have a student who struggles in the areas of reading comprehension and math as you begin the application process be sure to ask questions about remedial classes.  Different schools use different placement tests and have different policies related to who needs to take these classes. 

For additional information or questions regarding transition from high school you can contact Pam Megill, parent and educator connection coordinator at Northwest AEA, by emailing

Nov 20, 2012 2:18 PM |Add a comment
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