Student Support and Remediation

Student Support and Remediation

As states continue to implement expanded graduation requirements – including additional Carnegie unit requirements and exit exams – it is becoming increasingly important to provide students with opportunities to catch up when they're behind. It's also becoming increasingly important to quickly identify when students begin to get behind to reach out with help before they fail. The information below describes state high school remediation requirements as defined by state statutes and regulations. ECS conducted a comprehensive review of state policies on remediation, and found existing policy for some but not all states. States with no statewide policy are not listed below.

1. Do states require remediation for low-performing high school students?

Why does it matter?
  • States benefit when more of their citizens graduate with a high school diploma, and students benefit when they earn a high school diploma.
  • States, students and the business community benefit when students graduating from high school have adequate skills to succeed on the job.
  • States and students benefit when students are prepared prior to enrollment in postsecondary studies.
  • Students benefit when academic deficiencies are addressed as early as possible in their high school career.
  • Students and schools benefit when student participation in needed remediation is mandatory, and not left to a student's choice to participate.

  • Currently, state-level policies in 33 states focus on the remediation of high school students meeting specific criteria (this number does not include states with blanket remediation policies addressed at low-performing schools and districts).  Policies in these 33 states require districts or schools to do one or more of the following at the high school level: (1) provide remediation , (2) have a program of remediation in place or (3) determine a plan for remediation. Michigan does not explicitly require that remediation be provided to students, but does require that data from the Michigan Merit Examination be provided to allow parents and teachers to prepare remediation plans. Policies explicitly requiring student participation in remediation are noted below. (States shaded in blue currently have relevant remediation policies.)

2. Do states have a process in place for identifying students for remediation?

Why does it matter?
  • Students benefit when schools are provided with clear direction on when and in what subjects to provide remediation.
  • Students benefit when academic deficiencies are caught and addressed early.

States commonly use a combination of state and locally adopted measures to identify students in need of remediation. Thirty states use state assessments - including high school exit exams - to determine student eligibility for remediation. Seventeen states direct districts to use locally determined indicators, including locally-adopted assessments, promotion policies or classroom performance. Five states identify other indicators. For example, students identified in Mississippi are those who have failed two ore more grades or have been suspended or expelled for 20 or more days.


Thirty-one states specify a grade level at which students are first identified through one or more of the above measures as in need of remediation.
  • 9th grade: 21 states
  • 10th grade: 5 states
  • 11th grade: 5 states
In interpreting these numbers, it is important to note that individual state policies may identify students prior to high school - as is the case in Utah and Nevada - and that many states have multiple remediation policies aimed at different grade levels.

Subject areas:
Listed below are the number of states that require remediation for underperformance in specified subject areas:

  • English/language arts: 30 (Although many states specifically indicate reading or writing, for the purposes of this database, English language arts includes reading, writing and literacy.)
  • Mathematics: 29
  • Science: 22
  • Social studies: 9

3. Do states encourage or require individual learning plans for at-risk students?

Why does it matter?
  • Low-performing students benefit from personalized learning plans that address their specific area of deficiency.
Nineteen states currently require what can be termed "individual learning plans" for identified students. (This is distinct from state policies requiring such plans for all students; interested readers may find information on individual learning plans for all students here.) These policies include Arkansas' requirement that personal education plans be implemented for students identified as at-risk for academic failure and New Mexico's requirement that identified 8th graders be retained or provided with a graduation plan.

4. Do states allow alternative paths to standard high school diplomas?

Why does it matter?
  • States and students benefit when there are alternative pathways for at-risk or out-of-school youth to earn standard diplomas.

ECS has identified policies in 16 states that provide alternatives for at-risk or out-of-school youth to work toward graduating from high school with a standard diploma. These policies are distinct from traditional alternative schooling options in that they feature an emphasis on returning students to the regular classroom, provide options for students to earn their diploma at postsecondary institutions, allow for flexibility in a student's schedule or allow students to earn credit through demonstrated mastery of content.

Listed policies do not include competency-based credit programs aimed at all students, early college high schools or programs that lead to a GED or an adult high school diploma. (An upcoming ECS database will examine early college high schools in the states.)

5. Do states require that remedial programs be evaluated?

Why does it matter?
  • Students benefit when districts (or states) are held accountable for providing high-quality remediation programs.
  • Policymakers and practitioners – not to mention parents and taxpayers – need to know if resources and time are being put to good use.

Policies in 10 states explicitly require districts to evaluate their remediation programs - Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Georgia's department of education is required to annually evaluate the state's remedial education program.

Methodology: This information was collected from state statutes, rules and regulations, and will be updated as new policies and programs are enacted. Additions or corrections to listed policies are welcome.

Last updated: June 25, 2007
Please contact Jennifer Dounay Zinth with questions or comments about the database. Email:


Student Support and Remediation
State requires remediation for low-performing high school students Yes, districts are required to provide remediation.
State specifies a process for identifying students to receive additional subject time in certain subject areas How: Performance on state end-of-instruction tests.
When: 9th-12th grades, dependent upon when student takes class.
Subject Areas: English II, English III, U.S. History, Biology I, Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry (The state is in the process of phasing in exams for all of the subjects, and starting with freshmen entering in 2008, students will be required to pass end-of-instruction exams in Algebra I, English II, and tests in two other subject areas. OKLA. STAT. TIT. 70, § 1210.523)
State requires individual learning plans for at-risk students Yes, required alternative education programs must be designed to serve secondary school students in 6th-12th grades who are most at risk of not completing high school. Programs must include the development of a plan leading to graduation for each student in the program that will allow the student to participate in graduation exercises for the school district after meeting the requirements of the school district as specified in the individual graduation plan for that student.
State provides alternatives for at-risk/out-of-school youth to earn a standard high school diploma None identified
State policy requires district or state to evaluate student remediation program No
Sources Remediation: OKLA. STAT. TIT. 70, § 1210.508
Individual Learning Plans: OKLA. STAT. TIT. 70 § 1210.568 

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