Tag Archives: College Ready

More kids taking both ACT and SAT

10 Aug

Moi has written about both the SAT and ACT college entrance tests. In College Board to redesign SAT test, moi wrote:

Whether or not students choose college or vocational training at the end of their high school career, our goal as a society should be that children should be “college ready.” David T. Conley writes in the ASCD article, What Makes a Student College Ready?http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/What-Makes-a-Student-College-Ready%C2%A2.aspx https://drwilda.com/2012/10/06/many-not-ready-for-higher-education/
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/14/college-readiness-what-are-soft-skills/

There are two primary tests which access student preparedness for college, the ACT and the SAT. The SAT is owned by the College Board which has announced they will be redesigning the test. The ACT has overtaken the ACT as the primary test assessment. https://drwilda.com/2013/03/03/college-board-to-redesign-sat-test/
See, College Board Announces Sweeping SAT Redesign http://www.educationnews.org/higher-education/college-board-announces-sweeping-sat-redesign/
Apparently, more students are taking both the ACT and SAT.

Tamar Lewin reported in the New York Times article, Testing More Students Are Taking Both the ACT and SAT:

Admissions officers worry that test prep has become the main junior-year extracurricular activity. Preparing for both tests, they say, may be overkill. They point to parents as the ones cranking up the testing pressure.
“I think the dramatic increase over the last five years in the number of ACT scores we receive comes in conjunction with the increased selectivity,” said Eric J. Furda, dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania. “More and more parents think they can’t just stick with the regular road map for getting into college but need to consider every option that might help them show their child in the best possible light.”
At Shaker Heights High School in Ohio, Eileen Blattner, chairwoman of the guidance department, said that all but seven of the top 10 percent of the graduating class took both the ACT and SAT, and then took their better test once or twice more.
“I say, all the time, ‘Don’t go crazy,’ but particularly for parents who use it as a ring on their finger if their kids get into a high-status school, they’re going to have their kids take and take and take the tests.”
If it were up to Robert Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest, an advocacy group critical of standardized testing, neither test would be required. (His organization compiles a list of hundreds of colleges that are test-optional.) But he does see one positive aspect in the rise of the ACT as a state-mandated test.
“In 2013, there were proposals in a number of states to integrate a college admissions test into the state system, and as states come out of the recession, we may see more,” Mr. Schaeffer said. “Using a college admissions test as the state’s high school test cuts out one test, which responds to growing pressure from teachers that enough is enough.”
Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming require students to take the test, and Arkansas pays for the ACT if districts want to offer it. The SAT has only Delaware, Idaho and Maine.
There are clear differences between the tests. The ACT has four long sections, the SAT 10 shorter ones. The ACT has a science section and covers more advanced math, including trigonometry.
“A third of SAT reading is vocabulary, so for students with limited vocabulary, the ACT is better,” said Sasha DeWind, director at Tutor Associates, based in New York. “The questions are passage-based, and if you understand the passage, you’ll probably get the answer right. And even though the ACT covers harder math, it’s more similar to what students have done in school. The SAT is about getting the students to understand what they’re being asked.”
Speed is more of an issue on the ACT, she said, with many students finding that they do not have enough time to work through all the questions (the ACT allows only 45 minutes for 75 English questions and 35 minutes for 40 reading questions, while the SAT gives 70 minutes for 67 reading questions and 35 minutes for 49 writing questions).
“Students with learning disabilities who qualify for extra time usually do better taking the ACT, where the extra time really matters,” she said. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/education/edlife/more-students-are-taking-both-the-act-and-sat.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0

There are pros and cons of both the SAT and ACT.

According to Allen Grove who wrote the article, SAT Score Choice at About.com:

1. SAT Score Choice Can Reduce Exam Time Stress
At most colleges, the SAT (or ACT) is an important part of the application. A lot rides on the exam, so it’s easy to start panicking during the test if you don’t think it’s going well. With SAT Score Choice, at least you have the comfort of knowing that you can take the exam again and not report a set a bad scores (but see #5 for exceptions).
2. Score Choice Allows for Freshman and Sophomore Year Trial Runs
While I don’t encourage high school freshman and sophomores to take the SAT, Score Choice makes doing so carry fewer consequences. With the new policy, if students who are in their first years of high school want to take a trial run at the exam, they can do so with less worry that a low score will undermine their applications. Getting a set of scores early on can let students know how much test preparation might be necessary to get into their top choice colleges.
3. SAT Score Choice Can Cost You Money
Obviously if you take the SAT multiple times, you will need to pay for the exam each time. You will also find that the cost of reporting scores to colleges and scholarship programs goes up. When you take the SAT, you have nine days to select four recipients who will receive score reports at no cost to you. However, scores aren’t released until about 2 1/2 weeks after the exam. Thus, if you are going to hold back scores to take advantage of the SAT Score Choice option, you will lose your four free score reports.
4. At Some Colleges, SAT Score Choice Will Weaken Your Application
SAT Score Choice allows you to send all the scores from a single exam sitting. Let’s say you take the SAT twice with these results:
• May: 570 Reading; 620 Math; 550 Writing (for 1740 combined)
• Oct: 540 Reading; 650 Math; 580 Writing (for 1770 combined)
With Score Choice, you would send the October scores to colleges since they are 30 points higher than May. You would have a 1770 SAT score.
Many colleges, however, don’t look at your best test day, but your best individual scores. In the example above, the best scores span both exams: 570 Reading (May), 650 Math (October) and 580 Writing (October). A school that counts just your highest individual scores would give you a 1800 SAT score. Your application is stronger without Score Choice.
5. Some Colleges Require All Scores Despite Score Choice
Many selective colleges and universities aren’t fond of SAT Score Choice. They don’t want to see a scenario in which students who can afford to do so take the SAT a dozen times. Thus, many top colleges and universities are requiring students to report scores from all test sittings even with the new SAT Score Choice option.
6. SAT Score Choice Disadvantages Low-Income Students
The cost of the SAT exam isn’t extravagant ($45 in 2009), but for many students from families with modest incomes, the cost is a barrier to taking the exam multiple times. The SAT and ACT have always worked to the advantage of students who can afford tutoring and test prep courses, and SAT Score Choice is likely to widen the financial divide. (Low income students should note, however, that fee waivers may be available through their schools. Fee waivers will cover two exam sittings.)
7. SAT Score Choice Complicates the Common Application
The beauty of the Common Application is that you can prepare a single application for multiple colleges. SAT Score Choice complicates the process. Three schools could have three different policies: one might respect Score Choice, one might be test-optional, and one might require you to report all scores. Thus, you might need to create three separate Common Applications to have the strongest application at each school. This can be done, but it opens the door for mistakes, especially if your high school is submitting records and recommendations electronically through The Common Application. http://collegeapps.about.com/od/sat/tp/sat-score-choice.htm

Hally Z. writes at College Toolkit.com in the article SAT Vs. ACT: Which Test Should I Take?

Composition
The SAT is made up of 10 sections composed of three critical reading, three math and three writing sections, which are scored, and one experimental section, which is not scored. The ACT consists of four sections composed of English, math, reading and science. There is also an optional writing test included with both exams.
Scoring
The SAT has a total score range of 600 to 2400 based on the sum of the three subject scores, each of which range from 200 to 800. The writing essay receives a score of 0 to 12 and is computed into the SAT final score. The ACT has a composite score of 1 to 36 based on the average of the four test sections. Each section is also separately scored from 1 to 36. The optional writing test for the ACT is scored from 0 to 12, and its score is not included in the ACT composite score.
Wrong Answer Penalty
The SAT deducts ¼ of a point for every wrong answer, except for math grids. With the ACT, wrong answers are not penalized.
Score History
For both the SAT and ACT, you decide which scores are sent to the college or university.
Philosophy
The SAT assesses your critical thinking and test-taking skills. Problems are worded to be intentionally confusing. Your innate ability to dissect a problem and solve it is tested more than your knowledge of actual subject matters. In contrast, the ACT focuses more on assessing your knowledge of specific subject matters such as biology, chemistry and geometry.
Test Preparation
SAT study materials attempt to improve your critical thinking and test-taking skills. ACT study materials try to improve your breadth and depth of knowledge on specific school subjects.
Which Test Is Better for Me?
Based on the above information, you may be wondering which test is more difficult to take. The answer depends on your style of thinking and study. If you excel at accumulating information about classroom subjects, solving equations using set formulae and reading literature, then the ACT may be better for you. If you enjoy semantics and picking apart a problem, or analyzing mathematical or scientific principles, then the SAT would be better suited to you.
When deciding whether to take the SAT or ACT, first find out which test is demanded by the colleges or universities of your choice. Many schools prefer one exam over the other. Other schools accept either exam (e.g., Yale University). In some cases, even though a school states that it “accepts” a particular exam, this does not imply that it will take one exam in lieu of another — it means only that the school will take additional test scores into consideration. If you are unsure about a particular school’s exact test requirements, contact its admissions office.
If time and money permit, you could benefit from taking both exams. You will be able to choose from your higher scored exam should the school not have a preference about accepting the SAT or ACT standardized test.
Alternatively, you might consider taking a practice SAT and a practice ACT. You can see which one you score better on and then focus your test prep efforts on that standardized test.
http://colleges.collegetoolkit.com/guides/test_prep/ACT_vs_SAT_Which_Test_Should_I_Take.aspx

In Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person, moi said:
There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the state of education in America. A lot of that dissatisfaction comes from the belief that the education system fails to actually educate children and to teach them critical thinking skills. The University of Maine at Augusta defines an educated person:

An educated person exhibits knowledge and wisdom; recognizes and respects the diversity of nature and society; demonstrates problem solving skills; engages in planning and managing practices; navigates the on-line world; writes and speaks well; acts with integrity; and appreciates the traditions of art, culture, and ideas. Developing these abilities is a life-long process. http://www.uma.edu/educatedperson.html

Essential to this definition is the development of critical thinking skills.

The Critical Thinking Community has several great articles about critical thinking at their site. In the section, Defining Critical Thinking:

A Definition
Critical thinking is that mode of thinking – about any subject, content, or problem – in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them.
The Result
A well cultivated critical thinker:
o raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and
precisely;
o gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to
interpret it effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
o thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought,
recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
o communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.
Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism. (Taken from Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008).http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766

The question is how to teach critical thinking skills. David Carnes wrote the excellent Livestrong article, How to Build Critical Thinking Skills in Children.http://www.livestrong.com/article/167563-how-to-build-critical-thinking-skills-in-children/#ixzz1kB28AgFS

Related:

What , if anything, do education tests mean?
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/what-if-anything-do-education-tests-mean/

Complete College America report: The failure of remediation
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/complete-college-america-report-the-failure-of-remediation/

What the ACT college readiness assessment means
https://drwilda.com/2012/08/25/what-the-act-college-readiness-assessment-means/

The importance of the National Assessment of Educational Progress
https://drwilda.com/2012/09/12/the-importance-of-the-national-assessment-of-educational-progress/

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Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

Lumina Foundation study: U.S. not producing enough college grads for projected jobs

18 Jun

 

Moi wrote in Many NOT ready for higher education:

 

Whether or not students choose college or vocational training at the end of their high school career, our goal as a society should be that children should be “college ready.” David T. Conley writes in the ASCD article, What Makes a Student College Ready?

 

The Big Four

 

A comprehensive college preparation program must address four distinct dimensions of college readiness: cognitive strategies, content knowledge, self-management skills, and knowledge about postsecondary education.

 

Key Cognitive Strategies

 

Colleges expect their students to think about what they learn. Students entering college are more likely to succeed if they can formulate, investigate, and propose solutions to nonroutine problems; understand and analyze conflicting explanations of phenomena or events; evaluate the credibility and utility of source material and then integrate sources into a paper or project appropriately; think analytically and logically, comparing and contrasting differing philosophies, methods, and positions to understand an issue or concept; and exercise precision and accuracy as they apply their methods and develop their products.

 

Key Content Knowledge

 

Several independently conducted research and development efforts help us identify the key knowledge and skills students should master to take full advantage of college. Standards for Success (Conley, 2003) systematically polled university faculty members and analyzed their course documents to determine what these teachers expected of students in entry-level courses. The American Diploma Project (2004) consulted representatives of the business community and postsecondary faculty to define standards in math and English. More recently, both ACT (2008) and the College Board (2006) have released college readiness standards in English and math. Finally, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (2008), under mandate of state law, developed one of the first and most comprehensive sets of state-level college readiness standards….

 

Key Self-Management Skills

 

In college, students must keep track of massive amounts of information and organize themselves to meet competing deadlines and priorities. They must plan their time carefully to complete these tasks. They must be able to study independently and in informal and formal study groups. They must know when to seek help from academic support services and when to cut their losses and drop a course. These tasks require self-management, a skill that individuals must develop over time, with considerable practice and trial-and-error.

 

Key Knowledge About Postsecondary Education

 

Choosing a college, applying, securing financial aid, and then adjusting to college life require a tremendous amount of specialized knowledge. This knowledge includes matching personal interests with college majors and programs; understanding federal and individual college financial aid programs and how and when to complete appropriate forms; registering for, preparing for, and taking required admissions exams; applying to college on time and submitting all necessary information; and, perhaps most important, understanding how the culture of college is different from that of high school….

 

Students who would be the first in their family to attend college, students from immigrant families, students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups traditionally underrepresented in college, and students from low-income families are much more easily thrown off the path to college if they have deficiencies in any of the four dimensions. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/What-Makes-a-Student-College-Ready%C2%A2.aspx

 

The difficult question is whether current testing accurately measures whether students are prepared for college. https://drwilda.com/2012/10/06/many-not-ready-for-higher-education/

 

The Lumina Founation has released the report A Stronger Nation through Higher Education which is skeptical that the U.S. is producing the number of college graduates for future economic success.

 

Here is the press release from the Lumina Foundation about

 

New report shows improved pace of college attainment is still not enough to meet future workforce needs; massive racial achievement gaps continue

 

June 13, 2013

Lumina Foundation Announces 10 New Targets for Moving America Closer to Goal 2025

WASHINGTON, DC, June 13, 2013—As the demand for skilled workers continues to grow, a new report released today by Lumina Foundation shows that the rate of college attainment is steadily improving across America. Unfortunately, the pace of progress is far too modest to meet future workforce needs. The report also finds massive and ongoing gaps in educational achievement—gaps tied to race, income and other socioeconomic factors—that must be addressed.

According to the report, A Stronger Nation through Higher Education, 38.7 percent of working-age Americans (ages 25-64) held a two- or four-year college degree in 2011—the most recent year for which data are available. That figure is up from 2010, when the rate was 38.3 percent and from 2009, when the rate was 38.1 percent. The Stronger Nation report measures progress toward Goal 2025 which is a national effort to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025.

Read the full report

A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education 2013

218 pgs. | 8.8M | PDF

Research tells us that 65 percent of U.S. jobs will require some form of postsecondary education by 2020, yet fewer than 40 percent of Americans are educated beyond high school today,” said Jamie P. Merisotis, president and chief executive officer of Lumina. “Our pace of attainment has been too slow and America is now facing a troubling talent gap. If we intend to address this problem, new strategies are required and a heightened sense of urgency is needed among policymakers, business leaders and higher education institutions across our nation.”

Achievement Gaps by Race Continue

Educational success has historically been uneven across America, particularly among, low-income, first-generation students, racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants and adults who are underrepresented among college students and graduates. The Stronger Nation report shows that degree attainment rates among adults (ages 25-64) in the U.S. continue to be woefully unbalanced, with 59.1 percent of Asians having a degree versus 43.3 percent of whites, 27.1 percent of blacks, 23.0 of Native Americans and 19.3 of Hispanics.

As worrisome as those differentials are, there is an even more troubling trend in the data regarding young adults (ages 25-29) who serve as a leading indicator of where the nation’s higher education attainment rates are headed overall. The highest attainment rate for 25- to 29-year old Americans is among Asians at 65.6 percent, followed by non-Hispanic whites at 44.9 percent. Then, the bottom drops out with an attainment rate for young African-Americans at 24.7 percent, for Hispanics at 17.9 percent and for Native Americans at 16.9 percent.

This is an intolerable situation,” said Merisotis. “We certainly must close these gaps to meet the attainment levels that our nation needs. But the fact that these racial achievement differentials even exist must be rejected on both moral and economic grounds, given the increasingly severe consequences that come with not having a degree beyond high school. Our democracy and our economy are ill-served by a system that fails to effectively tap all of our available talent.”

New Strategies for Reaching Goal 2025

Earlier this year, Lumina released a new Strategic Plan that outlines how the Foundation will work over the next four years to help move the country closer to reaching Goal 2025. The plan includes strategies to: 1) design and build a higher education system for the 21st century, and 2) mobilize employers, policymakers, institutions, state and metro leaders and others to better position America for success in the knowledge economy.

The strategies for designing and building a 21st century higher education system focus on: creating new models of student financial support; developing new higher education business and finance models, and creating new systems of quality credentials and credits defined by learning and competencies rather than time.

The mobilization strategies focus on: building a social movement to support increased attainment in America; working with employers, metro areas and regions to encourage broader adoption of Goal 2025; advancing state and federal policy for increased attainment, and mobilizing higher education institutions and systems to increase the adoption of data- and evidence-based policies, partnerships and practices.

The strength of our nation—or any nation—is its people, the sum total of talents, skills and abilities inherent in its citizenry,” said Merisotis. “America needs a bigger and more talented workforce to succeed, but we cannot expect our citizens to meet the demands of the 21st century without a 21st century education. That’s why we are working to mobilize more stakeholders to commit to achieving this 60 percent college-attainment goal. And it’s why we are working to design and build a new system of higher education that is grounded in quality and is flexible and affordable enough to properly serve the needs of students, employers and society at large.”

We cannot expect our citizens to meet the demands of the 21st century without a 21st century educationtweet this

To measure progress toward Goal 2025 in the near term, Lumina has established 10 specific achievement targets for 2016 that will guide the Foundation’s work. They include:

  • 55 percent of Americans will believe that increasing higher education attainment is necessary to the nation. (2012 baseline = 43 percent)

  • 67.8 percent of students will pursue postsecondary education directly from high school. (2012 baseline = 62.5 percent)

  • 1.3 percent of older adults will be first-time participants in higher education. (2012 baseline = 1.1 percent)

  • 3.3 million Hispanic students will be enrolled in college. (2012 baseline = 2.5 million)

  • 3.25 million African-American students will be enrolled in college. (2012 baseline = 2.7 million)

  • 22 million students will be enrolled in college across America. (2012 baseline = 18.1 million)

  • 800,000 fewer working-age adults (ages 25-64) will have some college and no degree (2012 baseline = 36.3 million; 2016 target = 35.5 million)

  • 60 percent of first-time, full-time students will complete college within six years. (2012 baseline = 54 percent)

  • 48 percent of adult learners (ages 25-64) will complete higher education. (2012 baseline = 45 percent)

  • 3 million will be the number of associate and bachelor’s degrees awarded annually. (An increase of 500,000 per year based on 2012 baseline of 2.5 million)

Key Tables from A Stronger Nation through Higher Education Report:

Top 10 states by degree attainment in 2011:

  • MA—50.8%

  • CO—47.0%

  • MN—46.6%

  • CT—46.4%

  • VT—46.2%

  • NH—45.8%

  • MD—45.4%

  • NJ—45.1%

  • VA—45.0%

  • ND—44.7%

Top 10 MSAs by degree attainment in 2011 (among the 100 most-populated MSAs):

Madison, WI 54.81%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 54.73%
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH 54.25%
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 54.15%
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 52.86%
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA 52.76%
Raleigh-Cary, NC 52.64%
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 50.65%
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY 49.27%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 48.28%

Facts about postsecondary attainment in America

Bottom 10 states by degree attainment in 2011: State

41. IN—33.8%

42. OK—33.0%

43. TN—32.1%

44. AL—31.9%

45. KY—30.8%

46. MS—30.3%

47. NV—30.0%

48. AR—28.2%

49. LA—27.9%

50. WV—27.8%

Bottom 10 MSAs by degree attainment in 2011 (among the 100 most-populated MSAs):

Lancaster, PA 31.74%
Las Vegas-Paradise, NV 29.59%
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA 29.38%
El Paso, TX 28.97%
Fresno, CA 27.90%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 27.20%
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL 27.02%
Stockton, CA 26.75%
Bakersfield-Delano, CA 21.35%
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 21.21%

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025.

Media contacts:

Lucia Anderson
Lumina Foundation
317.951.5316
landerson@luminafoundation.org

Michael Marker
VOX Global
317.902.2958
mmarker@voxglobal.com

 

– See more at: http://www.luminafoundation.org/newsroom/news_releases/2013-06-13.html#sthash.sE33uxCj.dpuf

 

 

K-12 education must not only prepare students by teaching basic skills, but they must prepare students for training after high school, either college or vocational. There should not only be a solid education foundation established in K-12, but there must be more accurate evaluation of whether individual students are “college ready.”

 

 

Related:

 

Helping community college students to graduate                    https://drwilda.com/2012/02/08/helping-community-college-students-to-graduate/

 

The digital divide affects the college application process https://drwilda.com/2012/12/08/the-digital-divide-affects-the-college-application-process/

 

College readiness: What are ‘soft skills’                               https://drwilda.com/2012/11/14/college-readiness-what-are-soft-skills/

 

Colleges rethinking who may need remedial education https://drwilda.com/2012/10/24/colleges-rethinking-who-may-need-remedial-education/

 

Where Information Leads to Hope ©     Dr. Wilda.com

 

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

 

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

 

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                           http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

 

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                                http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

 

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National Center on Education and the Economy report: High schools are not preparing students for community college

14 May

Moi wrote in Many NOT ready for higher education:

Whether or not students choose college or vocational training at the end of their high school career, our goal as a society should be that children should be “college ready.” David T. Conley writes in the ASCD article, What Makes a Student College Ready?

The Big Four

A comprehensive college preparation program must address four distinct dimensions of college readiness: cognitive strategies, content knowledge, self-management skills, and knowledge about postsecondary education.

Key Cognitive Strategies

Colleges expect their students to think about what they learn. Students entering college are more likely to succeed if they can formulate, investigate, and propose solutions to nonroutine problems; understand and analyze conflicting explanations of phenomena or events; evaluate the credibility and utility of source material and then integrate sources into a paper or project appropriately; think analytically and logically, comparing and contrasting differing philosophies, methods, and positions to understand an issue or concept; and exercise precision and accuracy as they apply their methods and develop their products.

Key Content Knowledge

Several independently conducted research and development efforts help us identify the key knowledge and skills students should master to take full advantage of college. Standards for Success (Conley, 2003) systematically polled university faculty members and analyzed their course documents to determine what these teachers expected of students in entry-level courses. The American Diploma Project (2004) consulted representatives of the business community and postsecondary faculty to define standards in math and English. More recently, both ACT (2008) and the College Board (2006) have released college readiness standards in English and math. Finally, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (2008), under mandate of state law, developed one of the first and most comprehensive sets of state-level college readiness standards….

Key Self-Management Skills

In college, students must keep track of massive amounts of information and organize themselves to meet competing deadlines and priorities. They must plan their time carefully to complete these tasks. They must be able to study independently and in informal and formal study groups. They must know when to seek help from academic support services and when to cut their losses and drop a course. These tasks require self-management, a skill that individuals must develop over time, with considerable practice and trial-and-error.

Key Knowledge About Postsecondary Education

Choosing a college, applying, securing financial aid, and then adjusting to college life require a tremendous amount of specialized knowledge. This knowledge includes matching personal interests with college majors and programs; understanding federal and individual college financial aid programs and how and when to complete appropriate forms; registering for, preparing for, and taking required admissions exams; applying to college on time and submitting all necessary information; and, perhaps most important, understanding how the culture of college is different from that of high school….

Students who would be the first in their family to attend college, students from immigrant families, students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups traditionally underrepresented in college, and students from low-income families are much more easily thrown off the path to college if they have deficiencies in any of the four dimensions. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/What-Makes-a-Student-College-Ready%C2%A2.aspx

The difficult question is whether current testing accurately measures whether students are prepared for college. https://drwilda.com/2012/10/06/many-not-ready-for-higher-education/

Katherine Mangan reports in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, High Schools Set Up Community-College Students to Fail, Report Says:

Community colleges’ academic expectations are “shockingly low,” but students still struggle to meet them, in part because high-school graduation standards are too lax in English and too rigid in mathematics, according to a study released on Tuesday by the National Center on Education and the Economy.

Students entering community colleges have poor reading and writing skills and a shaky grasp of advanced math concepts that most of them will never need, the study found…. http://chronicle.com/article/High-Schools-Set-Up/139105/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

Here is the press report from the National Center on Education and the Economy:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Emily Kingsland

May 7, 2013

(202) 379 -1800

ekingsland@ncee.org

High Schools Fail to Teach What Graduates Need to Succeed in Community Colleges, Instead Teaching What They Don’t Need

New report from the National Center on Education and the Economy is first to look at the literacy levels actually required for success in nation’s community colleges

WASHINGTON, DC — Students are failing to learn the basic math and English skills and concepts needed for success in community colleges, according to a new report from the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) entitled, What Does It Really Mean to Be College and Work Ready: The English and Mathematics Required by First Year Community College Students That’s the surprising and discouragingcentral conclusion of a groundbreaking two year study, which examined the skills and knowledge in mathematics and English literacy that high school graduates need to succeed in the first year of their community college programs.

We were surprised how little math is used in first year community college courses, and what is used is mostly middle school math,” said Phil Daro, co-chair of the study’s Mathematics Panel and co-director in the development of the Common Core State Standards for mathematics. “Our system makes no sense for these students: even though so many students have a shaky understanding of the middle school mathematics they really need, high school courses spend most of these students’ time on topics not needed for their college programs.”

The reading skills of our high school graduates are so low that most community college instructors do not expect their students to be able to read at the level of their textbooks,” said Catherine Snow, co-chair of the study’s English Panel and Patricia Albjerg Graham Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. “Their writing skills are so low that instructors rarely ask their students to write very much outside of their English composition classes, and, when they do, the writing they are asked to do is not very demanding.”

These are just a few of the key findings from the first study ever done that actually examines the level of mathematics and English literacy needed to succeed in the first year of study at our nation’s community colleges.

Roughly 45 percent of our nation’s undergraduates are attending community colleges, according to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). About half of those students are training to go directly into the workforce and enter popular fields such as nursing, law enforcement, auto mechanics or education, while others are working to complete the first two years of a four year degree program. The report concludes that students who cannot succeed in the first year of a community college program are surely not ready for success in college or the workplace.

Most studies of course requirements in our colleges simply ask instructors what students need to know to be successful in their institutions, but that method is notoriously unreliable, because instructors typically respond to such surveys by telling the interviewer what they would like students to know, not what they actually need to know.

This study was conducted by NCEE in collaboration with a team of leading scholars and community college leaders. It analyzed the textbooks, papers and projects students are assigned; the tests they are given; and the grades they get on both. These materials were gathered from a set of nine popular and diverse career oriented programs in randomly selected community colleges across seven diverse states.

AACC urged educators at the secondary and post -secondary levels to read carefully the specific findings of the report and reevaluate their courses and materials to ensure they are meeting students’ needs at every stage of their educational paths. “This study emphasizes the critical importance of better aligning the entire pipeline to ensure all students are adequately prepared for college and careers in the 21st century,” said Walter Bumphus, president and CEO of AACC. Achieve President Michael Cohen pointed out that this report’s findings constitute a powerful argument for implementing the new Common Core State Standards for literacy in mathematics and English. “This very important report underscores the urgent need for states to implement the Common Core State Standards. If the CCSS were properly implemented, students would have the kind of mastery of middle school mathematics skills identified in this report as the most important math skills needed in the first year of community college. Similarly, the report makes it crystal clear why the CCSS English literacy standards stressed the need for great improvements in students’ ability to do non-fiction reading and writing.”

The reports’ authors concentrate their recommendations on the steps schools must take to enable more of their graduates to succeed in our community colleges, but also touch on what community colleges can do. Among the recommendations are the following:

! Make Algebra II a key course on just one of several mathematics paths to a high school diploma, eliminatingthe mandatory status it has in some states.

! Have most students spend more time on middle school mathematics rather than rushing toward Algebra I.

! Reconceive community college placement tests to align them with the mathematics students actually need to succeed in their first credit-bearing programmatic courses.

! Increase writing assignments across all high school courses, especially those that require the presentation of a logical argument and evidence to support claims.

! Have high school students read texts of greater complexity.

Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy said, “This report shows that our community colleges have shockingly low expectations of the students entering their institutions, because many perhaps most of our future nurses, EMT’s and auto mechanics haven’t mastered middle school mathematics and cannot read much of the material in their first year college textbooks even though they are only written at the 11th and 12th grade levels and a large fraction of our future four year college students have a very hard time

Citation:

NCEE has just released What Does It Really Mean to Be College and Work Ready?, a study of the English Literacy and Mathematics required for success in the first year of community college. On May 7th, during a day-long meeting, key education and policy leaders joined NCEE to discuss the results of the study and its implications for community college reform, school reform, teacher education, the common core state standards, and vocational education and the workplace.

Click here to watch the video of the event.

Helpful Links:

Download the Executive Summary

Download the Math Report

Download the English Report

Agenda

Speaker Biographies

Q&As

Summary of Findings

InCritical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person, moi said:

There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the state of education in America. A lot of that dissatisfaction comes from the belief that the education system fails to actually educate children and to teach them critical thinking skills. The University of Maine at Augusta defines an educated person:

An educated person exhibits knowledge and wisdom; recognizes and respects the diversity of nature and society; demonstrates problem solving skills; engages in planning and managing practices; navigates the on-line world; writes and speaks well; acts with integrity; and appreciates the traditions of art, culture, and ideas. Developing these abilities is a life-long process. http://www.uma.edu/educatedperson.html

Essential to this definition is the development of critical thinking skills.

The Critical Thinking Community has several great articles about critical thinking at their site. In the section, Defining Critical Thinking:

A Definition
Critical thinking is that mode of thinking – about any subject, content, or problem – in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them.

The Result

A well cultivated critical thinker:

  • raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and
    precisely;

  • gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to
    interpret it effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;

  • thinks open mindedly within alternative systems of thought,
    recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and

  • communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.

Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.  (Taken from Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008). http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766

The question is how to teach critical thinking skills. David Carnes wrote the excellent Livestrong article, How to Build Critical Thinking Skills in Children. http://www.livestrong.com/article/167563-how-to-build-critical-thinking-skills-in-children/#ixzz1kB28AgFS

Related:

What the ACT college readiness assessment means                                            https://drwilda.com/2012/08/25/what-the-act-college-readiness-assessment-means/

Study: What skills are needed for ’21st-century learning?’                                      https://drwilda.com/2012/07/11/study-what-skills-are-needed-for-21st-century-learning/

ACT to assess college readiness for 3rd-10th Grades                                        https://drwilda.com/2012/07/04/act-to-assess-college-readiness-for-3rd-10th-grades/

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

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Studies: Colleges don’t accurately assess which students need remedial courses

26 Feb

Moi wrote about remedial education in Remedial education in college:

Whether or not students choose college or vocational training at the end of their high school career, our goal as a society should be that children should be “college ready.” David T. Conley writes in the ASCD article, What Makes a Student College Ready?

The Big Four

A comprehensive college preparation program must address four distinct dimensions of college readiness: cognitive strategies, content knowledge, self-management skills, and knowledge about postsecondary education.

Key Cognitive Strategies

Colleges expect their students to think about what they learn. Students entering college are more likely to succeed if they can formulate, investigate, and propose solutions to nonroutine problems; understand and analyze conflicting explanations of phenomena or events; evaluate the credibility and utility of source material and then integrate sources into a paper or project appropriately; think analytically and logically, comparing and contrasting differing philosophies, methods, and positions to understand an issue or concept; and exercise precision and accuracy as they apply their methods and develop their products.

Key Content Knowledge

Several independently conducted research and development efforts help us identify the key knowledge and skills students should master to take full advantage of college. Standards for Success (Conley, 2003) systematically polled university faculty members and analyzed their course documents to determine what these teachers expected of students in entry-level courses. The American Diploma Project (2004) consulted representatives of the business community and postsecondary faculty to define standards in math and English. More recently, both ACT (2008) and the College Board (2006) have released college readiness standards in English and math. Finally, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (2008), under mandate of state law, developed one of the first and most comprehensive sets of state-level college readiness standards….

Key Self-Management Skills

In college, students must keep track of massive amounts of information and organize themselves to meet competing deadlines and priorities. They must plan their time carefully to complete these tasks. They must be able to study independently and in informal and formal study groups. They must know when to seek help from academic support services and when to cut their losses and drop a course. These tasks require self-management, a skill that individuals must develop over time, with considerable practice and trial-and-error.

Key Knowledge About Postsecondary Education

Choosing a college, applying, securing financial aid, and then adjusting to college life require a tremendous amount of specialized knowledge. This knowledge includes matching personal interests with college majors and programs; understanding federal and individual college financial aid programs and how and when to complete appropriate forms; registering for, preparing for, and taking required admissions exams; applying to college on time and submitting all necessary information; and, perhaps most important, understanding how the culture of college is different from that of high school….

Students who would be the first in their family to attend college, students from immigrant families, students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups traditionally underrepresented in college, and students from low-income families are much more easily thrown off the path to college if they have deficiencies in any of the four dimensions. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/What-Makes-a-Student-College-Ready%C2%A2.aspx

The difficult question is whether current testing accurately measures whether students are prepared for college.

Jon Marcus for the Hechinger Report, a nonprofit based at Teachers College, Columbia University that produces in-depth education journalism writes a guest post for the Washington Post, Many students could skip remedial classes, studies find. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/college-inc/post/many-students-could-skip-remedial-classes-studies-find/2012/02/28/gIQA5p5rgR_blog.html

https://drwilda.com/2012/03/04/remedial-education-in-college/

Sarah D. Sparks reports in the Education Week article, Many Students Don’t Need Remediation, Studies Say:

At a time when more high schools are looking to their graduates’ college-remediation rates as a clue to how well they prepare students for college and careers, new research findings suggest a significant portion of students who test into remedial classes don’t actually need them.

Separate studies from Teachers College, Columbia University, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education come to the same conclusion: The way colleges are using standardized placement tests such as the College Board’s Accuplacer, ACT’s Compass, and others can misidentify students, and secondary schools and universities should work to develop a more comprehensive profile of students’ strengths and weaknesses in performing college-level work.

The problem is coming to the fore as more states move to align their academic standards for college and career readiness with the Common Core State Standards and federal Race to the Top requirements and more high schools receive data on how their graduates are faring in colleges.

Thomas W. Brock, the new commissioner of the National Center for Education Research and a veteran higher education researcher, said improving remedial education has become a top research and policy concern. “It’s a huge need,” he said. “At many institutions, it’s a majority of students coming in and being placed into developmental ed.—and this is where it starts to bleed into the financial-aid agenda, because they’re using up valuable semesters of financial aid, which of course are not endless.”http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/02/20/21remediation_ep.h32.html?tkn=OLMFgMLxt1c%2F7EgyN%2FhosSD5NZpJQqsPmhKk&cmp=clp-edweek

Citation:

Improving the Targeting of Treatment: Evidence from College Remediation

Judith Scott-Clayton, Peter M. Crosta, Clive R. Belfield

NBER Working Paper No. 18457
Issued in October 2012
NBER Program(s):   ED

At an annual cost of roughly $7 billion nationally, remedial coursework is one of the single largest interventions intended to improve outcomes for underprepared college students. But like a costly medical treatment with non-trivial side effects, the value of remediation overall depends upon whether those most likely to benefit can be identified in advance. Our analysis uses administrative data and a rich predictive model to examine the accuracy of remedial screening tests, either instead of or in addition to using high school transcript data to determine remedial assignment. We find that roughly one in four test-takers in math and one in three test-takers in English are severely mis-assigned under current test-based policies, with mis-assignments to remediation much more common than mis-assignments to college-level coursework. We find that using high school transcript information—either instead of or in addition to test scores—could significantly reduce the prevalence of assignment errors. Further, we find that the choice of screening device has significant implications for the racial and gender composition of both remedial and college-level courses. Finally, we find that if institutions took account of students’ high school performance, they could remediate substantially fewer students without lowering success rates in college-level courses.

 

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

K-12 education must not only prepare students by teaching basic skills, but they must prepare students for training after high school, either college or vocational. There should not only be a solid education foundation established in K-12, but there must be more accurate evaluation of whether individual students are “college ready.”

Resources:

States Push Remedial Education to Community Colleges http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2012/01/13/states-push-remedial-education-to-community-colleges

What are ACT’s College Readiness Benchmarks?                  http://www.nc4ea.org/files/act_college_readiness_benchmarks-01-14-11.pdf

Related:

Colleges rethinking who may need remedial education https://drwilda.com/2012/10/24/colleges-rethinking-who-may-need-remedial-education/

Research: Summer bridge programs can help students succeed in college                                                                   https://drwilda.com/2012/05/14/research-summer-bridge-programs-can-help-students-succeed-in-college/

Complete College America report: The failure of remediation https://drwilda.com/2012/06/21/complete-college-america-report-the-failure-of-remediation/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                           http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                                http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                          https://drwilda.com/

Remedial education in college

4 Mar

Whether or not students choose college or vocational training at the end of their high school career, our goal as a society should be that children should be “college ready.” David T. Conley writes in the ASCD article, What Makes a Student College Ready?

The Big Four

A comprehensive college preparation program must address four distinct dimensions of college readiness: cognitive strategies, content knowledge, self-management skills, and knowledge about postsecondary education.

Key Cognitive Strategies

Colleges expect their students to think about what they learn. Students entering college are more likely to succeed if they can formulate, investigate, and propose solutions to nonroutine problems; understand and analyze conflicting explanations of phenomena or events; evaluate the credibility and utility of source material and then integrate sources into a paper or project appropriately; think analytically and logically, comparing and contrasting differing philosophies, methods, and positions to understand an issue or concept; and exercise precision and accuracy as they apply their methods and develop their products.

Key Content Knowledge

Several independently conducted research and development efforts help us identify the key knowledge and skills students should master to take full advantage of college. Standards for Success (Conley, 2003) systematically polled university faculty members and analyzed their course documents to determine what these teachers expected of students in entry-level courses. The American Diploma Project (2004) consulted representatives of the business community and postsecondary faculty to define standards in math and English. More recently, both ACT (2008) and the College Board (2006) have released college readiness standards in English and math. Finally, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (2008), under mandate of state law, developed one of the first and most comprehensive sets of state-level college readiness standards….

Key Self-Management Skills

In college, students must keep track of massive amounts of information and organize themselves to meet competing deadlines and priorities. They must plan their time carefully to complete these tasks. They must be able to study independently and in informal and formal study groups. They must know when to seek help from academic support services and when to cut their losses and drop a course. These tasks require self-management, a skill that individuals must develop over time, with considerable practice and trial-and-error.

Key Knowledge About Postsecondary Education

Choosing a college, applying, securing financial aid, and then adjusting to college life require a tremendous amount of specialized knowledge. This knowledge includes matching personal interests with college majors and programs; understanding federal and individual college financial aid programs and how and when to complete appropriate forms; registering for, preparing for, and taking required admissions exams; applying to college on time and submitting all necessary information; and, perhaps most important, understanding how the culture of college is different from that of high school….

Students who would be the first in their family to attend college, students from immigrant families, students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups traditionally underrepresented in college, and students from low-income families are much more easily thrown off the path to college if they have deficiencies in any of the four dimensions. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/What-Makes-a-Student-College-Ready%C2%A2.aspx

The difficult question is whether current testing accurately measures whether students are prepared for college.

Jon Marcus for the Hechinger Report, a nonprofit based at Teachers College, ColumbiaUniversity that produces in-depth education journalism writes a guest post for the Washington Post, Many students could skip remedial classes, studies find:

Even as policymakers struggle to reform remedial-education requirements blamed for derailing the aspirations of countless community-college students, two new studies suggest that many of those students would do fine without them.

The studies, both by the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, found that as many as a third of students sidetracked into remedial classes because of their scores on standardized tests would have earned a B or better if they had simply proceeded directly to college-level courses.

Three out of five of all entering community-college students are required to take remedial classes in math and other subjects, spending time and tuition money reviewing material they should have learned in high school, yet earning no credit from these classes toward their degrees.

More than 75 percent never graduate — in many cases, the researchers say, because they drop out from boredom and frustration. Providing remedial education also costs community colleges an estimated $2.5 billion a year.

Most rely on two principal standardized tests, called COMPASS and ACCUPLACER, to measure students’ college readiness. The researchers said their findings show those test scores should not be the only trigger for diverting students into remedial courses.

They said high-school grade-point averages were better gauges of preparedness for college-level work and would reduce the number of students assigned to remedial courses by from 15 to as much as 50 percent.

Researchers arrived at these conclusions by examining the performance of 19,000 students entering a large urban community college and a state community-college system over several years. They declined to name the school or state, but said the results were convincing enough to apply to all community colleges….

Community colleges spend so much time trying to fix the remedial-education process, Overton said, because “it’s a bottleneck for students, and impairing them, and we want them to get through, and to get through as quickly as they can.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/college-inc/post/many-students-could-skip-remedial-classes-studies-find/2012/02/28/gIQA5p5rgR_blog.html

Tamar Lewin of the New York Times also reports on the studies.

In, Colleges Misassign Many to Remedial Classes, Studies Find, Lewin reports:

Two new studies from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College have found that community colleges unnecessarily place tens of thousands of entering students in remedial classes — and that their placement decisions would be just as good if they relied on high school grade-point averages instead of standardized placement tests.

The studies address one of the most intractable problems of higher education: the dead end of remedial education. At most community colleges, a majority of entering students who recently graduated from high school are placed in remedial classes, where they pay tuition but earn no college credit. Over all, less than a quarter of those who start in remedial classes go on to earn two-year degrees or transfer to four-year colleges.

The studies, one of a large urban community college system and the other of a statewide system, found that more than a quarter of the students assigned to remedial classes based on their test scores could have passed college-level courses with a grade of B or higher.

We hear a lot about the high rates of failure in college-level classes at community colleges,” said Judith Scott-Clayton, the author of the urban study and a Teachers College professor of economics and education and senior research associate. “Those are very visible. What’s harder to see are the students who could have done well at college level but never got the chance because of these placement tests.”

The colleges’ use of the leading placement tests — the College Board’s Accuplacer and ACT’s Compass — lead to mistakes in both directions, the studies find, but students going into college-level classes they cannot handle is not as serious as unnecessary remedial placement, which often derails college careers.

Although the placement tests have been widely used since the late 1980s, students rarely understand how much is at stake. Typically, students are told that they need not worry about the tests because they are for placement — and very few colleges encourage them to prepare as they would for a college-entrance exam like the SAT.

The studies found that using high school grade-point averages as the basis for placement would be as good as or better than using the placement tests, but the authors stopped short of recommending that community colleges simply drop the tests and use high school transcripts when available.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/29/education/colleges-misassign-many-to-remedial-classes-studies-find.html?emc=eta1

Jane V. Wellman and Bruce Vandal write about remedial education for Inside Higher Ed.

In the article, 5 Myths of Remedial Education, Wellman and Vandal write:

College leaders say that high school teachers, not professors, should make sure students are meeting basic standards. State legislators say they shouldn’t have to pay twice to educate students. And everyone admits that remedial education is not working, with just 25 percent of community college students who receive it going on to complete a college credential. Recognizing that increasing college attainment is a linchpin in creating more jobs and growing the economy, what to do about remedial education is an issue that would benefit from clear thinking. Here are five powerful myths shared by policy makers and educators alike that clearly hinder our pursuit of college success.

Myth 1: Remedial Education is K-12’s problem

As the last stop before college, the obvious culprit for our remedial education problem is our nation’s high schools, right? After all, K-12 graduation standards are not rigorous enough or aligned with the college-ready standards set by state colleges and universities. If high schools would merely adopt those college-ready standards, the problem would be solved….

Because colleges have not clearly articulated the skills that students must possess to be college-ready, students are blindsided when they are placed into remedial courses, and high schools don’t have a clear benchmark for preparing students for success. Higher education can no longer kick the can down the road to K-12. The two must share accountability for student results.

Setting college-ready standards is not an easy proposition, but one simple solution would be for each state to set a universal cut score that would fully exempt students from remedial education. Both the ACT and the SAT have suggested cut scores that are aligned with data they have collected illustrating the likelihood of success in college-level courses. States should simply adopt these cut scores.

Myth 2: Remedial Education is a Short-Term Problem

Because of the prevalent view that remedial education is a temporary problem that the new common core high school standards will solve, educators and policy makers approach remedial education through largely stopgap measures built on part-time and temporary staff and coursework that doesn’t give students the skill-building they need.

Even if every high school graduate were college-ready, we would still need to have remedial education. The reason: students enter college from a variety of circumstances, including laid-off workers in need of retraining, working adults returning to college to upgrade their credentials to get better jobs, or former dropouts coming back to finish a degree. Because a majority of states are projecting declines in the number of new high school graduates, colleges will have to do even more to attract older adults back into college with an on-ramp that is convenient and customizable. Many of these nontraditional students will require refresher courses in math and English, and others will need to develop new knowledge and skills….

Myth 3: Colleges Effectively Determine College Readiness

Recent research from the Community College Research Center found that the placement tests students take do not provide a precise diagnosis of student skill deficiencies. The exams were intended to be a general predictor of success in college-level courses, not to identify which skills students are lacking. Unfortunately, many campuses are misusing these placement exams as crude diagnostic tools by setting arbitrary scores to determine if a student is placed in one, two or three levels of remedial education courses. Consequently, students are often placed in one or more semesters of remedial courses that may or may not be addressing their specific skill deficiencies. Even worse, research done in the Virginia Community College System suggests that many students placed in remedial education are perfectly capable of succeeding in college-level work without remediation.

One simple solution would be for institutions to use other available factors, like high school G.P.A., along with the placement exam to assess student readiness. High school G.P.A. is a good proxy for student motivation and academic skills. In addition, both ACT’s COMPASS and the College Board’s Accuplacer have diagnostic and other assessments that pinpoint student deficiencies and measure factors like student motivation.

Myth 4: Remedial Education is Bankrupting the System

One of the most prevalent myths is that remedial education is a major cause of the college cost crisis, forcing institutions to spend precious dollars on getting students up to speed. The thinking is that once the remedial educational problem is solved, institutions will be able to reap major savings that can be reallocated elsewhere.

Remedial education is actually inexpensive for the colleges – because institutions don’t use regular faculty for the courses, and the technology required is cheap. A study by the Board of Regents in Ohio — one of the few states that actually have cost data for remedial education — found that although 38 percent of incoming freshmen were taking remedial coursework. This translated to only 5 percent of actual full-time students, and around 3.6 percent of undergraduate instructional costs. That doesn’t mean remedial education is cost-effective for states or students who waste their time and money on something that’s not working. But the financial incentives are all in the wrong direction, rewarding institutions for cycling students through, rather than completing a degree…

Myth 5: Maybe Some Students are Just Not College Material

The most insidious of myths is the notion that some students may not be college material. After all, as this myth goes, students who are not college-ready may not possess the motivation, interest and wherewithal to succeed. These students should just learn a trade and move on. This ignores the reality that some postsecondary education is the ticket to the middle class, and that many students go to college to get the knowledge and skills needed to move into a trade. They need to have the basic skills in reading, math and writing to do that, even if they don’t want to go on to get a four-year degree…

Moreover, new research by Anthony Carnevale and Stephen J. Rose shows that college has benefits for employers who hire people like cashiers and construction workers, plumbers and police officers. These workers make more money than their non-college educated peers, and contribute more to their organizations by innovating and solving problems. So the benefit goes to the organization and to the individual.

The lack of clear college-ready standards, poor assessment practices, the lack of customized learning options and the cost in time and money to students make it clear that postsecondary institutions are not committed to ensuring the success of millions of students who seek a college credential.

http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2011/07/21/wellman_vandal_5_myths_about_remedial_education

K-12 education must not only prepare students by teaching basic skills, but they must prepare students for training after high school, either college or vocational. There should not only be a solid education foundation established in K-12, but there must be more accurate evaluation of whether individual students are “college ready.”

Resources:

States Push Remedial Education to Community Colleges http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2012/01/13/states-push-remedial-education-to-community-colleges

What are ACT’s College Readiness Benchmarks?

http://www.nc4ea.org/files/act_college_readiness_benchmarks-01-14-11.pdf

Dr. Wilda says this about this about that ©