~With enrollments up and state funding down, report warns that improvements may be short-lived~

Tampa, FL- Despite cuts in state funding and significant increases in student enrollments, more community college students are passing required math courses today in Florida than ever before according to a new report released by the advocacy group ENLACE Florida. According to the report, 62.6% of the 91,459 community college students who took College Algebra in 2009 passed earning a C- or better—an improvement from 2008 when 61.5% of the 84,655 students who took the gatekeeper course passed. Student math performance improved in other key courses as well within the Florida College System (FCS) including Elementary Statistics, Calculus, and Trigonometry. “Our FCS institutions have done a tremendous job stretching limited resources to ensure our students are engaged in key math course curriculum. We must continue to do everything we can at the local level to facilitate the success of students who enroll in these introductory gatekeeper courses.These are courses that must be passed in order for students to enroll in higher level courses,” said Braulio Colón, Interim Director for ENLACE Florida. At Florida Gateway College in Lake City, 84.6% of students taking Elementary Statistics passed the course in 2009 up from 59.4% the previous year. Pasco-Hernando Community College experienced similar improvements with 77.8% of students passing Elementary Statistics—up from 67% in 2008. At some of Florida’s larger institutions including Broward College, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Miami-Dade College, St. Petersburg College, and Valencia Community College, improvements in student outcomes were also recorded for College Algebra—most notably, St. Petersburg College which saw a 7.4 improvement of its College Algebra passing-rate between 2008-2009. The new report shows key math course student performance data by institution, highlights best practices throughout the FCS system, and offers policy recommendations to state leaders. The analysis comes as colleges in Florida are experiencing another year of exploding student enrollments. Overall enrollment within the FCS has increased nearly 24% since 2006. “While more and more students are arriving campuses throughout Florida, state investments in the FCS have continued to fall—shifting more and more of the cost burden to students and straining our system,” said Colón. “We cannot expect to see continuous improvements or expect to maintain success rates in key courses like College Algebra if state investments in the FCS continue to fall.” According to the report, “Florida’s long-term economic recovery must include a commitment by state leaders to enhance both higher education quality and productivity levels.”

To view the report, click here

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