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ERIC Number: EJ997230
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Mar-11
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
The Second-Chance Club
Hoover, Eric; Lipka, Sara
Chronicle of Higher Education, Mar 2013
Nobody wants to be here. In remedial English, earning no credit, stuck. Now--after months of commas, clauses, and four-paragraph essays--students have one last chance to write their way out. Twenty students sit at computers, poised to start the final in-class essay for English 002 at Montgomery College. Anybody can enroll here, and all kinds do. In 85 minutes the students must craft a thesis and clear topic sentences, using evidence to support their opinions. They have to answer one of three questions, about their assigned book, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," by Sherman Alexie, or their difficulty in mastering goals for the course, such as "Write and edit sentences that observe the conventions of standard American English." The students in English 002 stand at higher education's threshold. If they make it through, they advance to college-level courses that count toward a degree. Otherwise they must decide whether to try again, running down their financial aid, or give up on college and make do without it. For now, they all belong to the second-chance club known as remedial education. They're here because something, somewhere, went wrong. They didn't care about school, or school didn't care about them. For some, reading or writing never came easily. Maybe they didn't speak English as children. Or they lacked money, guidance, opportunity. Courses like English 002 are supposed to catch them all up. It's a lot to ask. Many students have a long way to go, and their obstacles are hardly confined to the classroom. Nationally, of the students who place into remediation--as many as 90 percent at some community colleges--only about a quarter go on to earn a degree. Here, past failures have worn some students down, and the prospect of success seems to frighten them. Several hope to attend four-year colleges and pursue careers, yet some have struggled to pull clear of bad circumstances or habits. Others are just drifting through.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; Tel: 202-466-1000; Fax: 202-452-1033; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maryland