California students who take college-prep classes in high school, earn A’s and B’s and go on to the California State University system often find themselves unprepared for college work. Eduwonk guest host Richard Lee Colvin links to a story in the Daily Breeze of Torrance, California on remedial English classes at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Los Angeles. Colvin writes:
Some of the quotes in the story are just heartbreaking. “In high school, I was a 3.8 (grade-point average) student,” one said. “Now that I’m here, it’s embarrassing—there’s so much I just don’t know.”
The story notes that 8 out of 10 first-time freshman enrolled at Dominguez Hills last fall needed remediation in English and 7 in 10 needed remediation in math. Throughout the 23-campus CSU system, only 43% of the entering freshmen were proficient in both classes. Dominguez Hills president James Lyons summed it up: “There’s a disconnect between what they’re doing in high school to earn that GPA, and what is required and expected at the university level.”
“One girl, who graduated in the top 10 percent of her class, asks: “Why is my report card lying?”
California high school juniors now can opt to answer some extra questions on the state exam: If they do well, they won’t have to take the California State University placement exam; if they do poorly they’ll know to spend senior year sharpening their English and/or math skills.