Kenzie Purtell wants to be a nurse. Lagging in math skills when she hits college would only slow her down.

So when a college readiness test showed the 17-year-old Reynoldsburg High School senior would have to take makeup courses to be ready for college math, Purtell enrolled in a computer-based pilot course that’s helping kids bridge the gap.

The course covers the same material that Purtell would learn if she entered remedial math as a freshman at Columbus State Community College, but it’s held at her high school — before she graduates. Both classes even have the same teacher, Christine Rossetti.

Compared to the high school work she used to, Purtell said, “It’s a lot more independent . You can learn at your own pace.”

More than four in 10 Ohio high school graduates get to college needing at least one remedial reading, science or math course. The makeup work is something they must complete, and pay for, before they begin earning credit toward their degree.

“When you go to college, you want to think all this cool stuff is going to happen, and you’re taking 12th-grade math?” Ohio Gov. John Kasich said during a February forum sponsored by The Associated Press. “You see a very big dropout rate.”

Kasich, a Republican, says he finds Ohio’s gap in college readiness startling. He’s assigned top education advisers to find ways to reduce the problem. The budget he signed last year required Ohio colleges and universities to develop and enact this year standards defining a student who’s ready for college-level coursework. It also mandated development of new readiness tests.

“As the president of one of the universities said, `I have kids in remedial programs from schools that are labeled excellent,”‘ Kasich said. “So this whole system, we just have to tell the truth about what is going on with our education system.”

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