What are remedial programs?

By Julie Rawe

At a glance

  • Remedial programs address learning gaps by reteaching basic skills.

  • They focus on core areas, like reading and math.

  • Remedial programs are open to all students, including those with disabilities.

Remedial programs are designed to close the gap between what students know and what they’re expected to know. They reteach core skills. Remedial programs are expanding in many places because so many kids faced learning challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Remedial programs for younger kids tend to focus on reading or math. Programs for older kids may include other areas like science and social studies. They offer extra support to help students catch up to their peers. And they’re open to all students, including those with disabilities.

The most effective programs are taught by teachers who have special training. They tend to have fewer students than a regular classroom. This can help them give each student more attention and support.

These programs tend to be most helpful to students with gaps in their learning because of frequent absences or trouble with focus. But some students may not make a lot of progress in remedial programs. This could be a sign of a learning disability. Students with disabilities may need more specialized instruction to thrive in school.

Learn more about how remedial programs work and how to spot an effective program.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Julie Rawe is the special projects editor at Understood.

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Brian Stack, MEd is the principal of Sanborn Regional High School in Kingston, New Hampshire.