Seventy-eight percent of California high school juniors who took a college-readiness test aren’t ready for college-level reading and writing; reading comprehension and analytical writing are the biggest problems. In addition, 45 percent couldn’t meet the math standard. The California State University system — the state’s second tier in higher education — wants students to use their senior year catching up on skills. The San Jose Mercury News reports:
It is the first time in the nation that a state’s public schools and a university system have worked together to coordinate and test their expectations for high-school graduates, said David Spence, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer for the CSU system.
And yet it seems like such an obvious idea.
College-level questions were added to the state test all juniors take in the spring, but students weren’t required to answer the extra questions. It’s likely the voluntary test-takers were college-bound students who hope to avoid having to take CSU placement tests; low achievers had no reason to bother. That is, if all students took a college-readiness test, the scores almost certainly would be much lower.
CSU is supposed to admit students in the top third of the high school class as judged by grades and test scores: 58 percent of freshmen now require remedial English, math or both. The remedial percentage is down to 37 percent in math but holding steady at 52 percent in English. The average remedial student was a “solid B” student in high school.
Update: According to an ACT report, only 22 percent of high school graduates who take the exam are prepared to succeed in college-level English, math and science courses. Nearly half of high school students don’t take the academic courses necessary to prepare for college.