This post was originally published March 1 at JoanneJacobs.com
Forty percent of A students are placed in remedial classes in community college, according to a new report, Expectations Meet Reality, by the Center for Community College Student Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. Over all, 86 percent of new students say they’re well prepared academically and 68 percent start — and usually end — in remediation.
Most remedial students quit before earning a credential, writes Meredith Kolodner for the Hechinger Report. Colleges are trying alternatives, such as starting unprepared students in college-level courses with access to basic skills help, to raise low success rates.
Stop with the political correctness and admit the truth that “ordinary people” already know, writes Fordham’s Mike Petrilli. “Lots of high school graduates aren’t ready for college.”
Less than 40 percent of 12th graders are ready for college, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), he writes. Yet nearly all are urged to enroll in college.
As the “college preparation gap” grows, completion rates are trending downward: The six-year graduation rate is 53 percent for those who started college in 2009. We should stop encouraging unprepared students to go to college, writes Petrilli. “Why saddle them with debt and regret? Why allow colleges to cash checks from Pell Grants that aren’t going to do the students, or taxpayers, any good?”
Telling the truth about unprepared students’ high failure rates in college is politically impossible because most public schools don’t offer real alternatives — or the truth — to students who are on the remedial track. They need a chance to catch up in high school and choose (real) academic college prep or (real) career prep leading to a two-year degree or certificate with workplace value.