Shakira Lockett was a pretty good student in elementary, middle and high school. The Miami-Dade County native says she typically earned AS and BS in English classes.
Math was always something of a struggle for Lockett. Still, she got through her high school exit exam with a passing grade and went on to graduate from Coral Gables Senior High School in 2008.
She went straight to Miami Dade College. Then, something unexpected happened: She flunked the college placement exams in all three subjects – reading, writing and math. That didn’t mean she couldn’t attend the school; all state and community colleges in Florida have an open-door policy, which means everyone is accepted. But it did mean she had to take remedial courses before she could start college-level work.
“When they told me I had to start a Reading 2 and Reading 3 class, I was like, ‘Serious?’” Lockett said. “Because I’ve always been good at reading.”
Lockett, who is now 22, spent a year-and-a half taking remedial classes before she could start her first college-level class to count toward her degree in mass communication and journalism. The seven extra courses cost her $300 each.
Lockett found having to take remedial classes discouraging. “It makes you feel dumb,” Lockett said. “And you ask yourself, ‘Is there something wrong with me?’” (Read more.)