Journal of Contemporary Research in Education


The existence of remedial curriculum at four-year universities remains a well-established, albeit controversial, component of contemporary higher education. Incoming students are required to enroll in postsecondary remedial coursework as a direct result of standardized test scores. It is well established in the literature, however, that minority students both underperform on standardized tests and are also overrepresented in remedial courses. This qualitative study explored the intersections of minority students’ high school academic experiences with their first-semester university academic experiences. The sample included eight minority students who were each enrolled in three remedial and at least one non-remedial course at a public, research university. Students shared their experiences through sixty-minute semi-structured interviews. The data converged on four major themes: high school ease, navigating new faculty expectations, learning how to study, and soliciting parental support. Recommendations to assist students through this transitory period are proffered for postsecondary educators and practitioners.

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