This excerpt comes from my book, "Access at the crossroads" described in the left-hand column.
This ﬁrst category of the three approaches operates as a prerequisite learning experience before the student enrolls in college-level courses such as college algebra, general psychology, or general biology. Activities include academic preparatory academies and remedial or developmental courses in English, reading, and mathematics. In the case of academic preparatory academies, participation precedes enrollment in any college-level courses or perhaps even admission to the postsecondary institution. Remedial and developmental courses may be taken while the student is simultaneously enrolled in other college-level courses. Successful completion of the remedial or developmental course, perhaps intermediate algebra, is often required by local college policy and serves as a prerequisite before enrollment in the college-level algebra course is permitted.
Just because a student scores low on a college entrance examination for one subject area does not mean that all his or her initial courses will be remedial or developmental. As described earlier, a student’s academic skills lie along a continuum between novice and expert. Where the student is at the novice level, enrollment in a developmental course is essential, while in other academic areas they are average or perhaps expert.
Following blog postings in this series will provide examples of this preqluisite approach to learning assistance.