Only 23 percent of New York City students are ready for college or careers, according to state data, reports the New York Times. That doesn’t include special education students. Other big cities in the state are doing even worse: Only 5 percent of Rochester students did well enough on state exams to be considered college and career ready. Statewide, 41 percent of students test as college or career ready.
New York’s Board of Regents may require schools and districts to report the college-ready rate as well as the graduation rate, said Chancellor Merryl Tisch.
The move parallels a decision by the Regents last year to make standardized tests for third through eighth graders more difficult to pass, saying that the old passing rates did not correlate to high school success.
“With three through eight, we ripped the Band-Aid off,” Dr. Tisch said in an interview last week. “The thing we said then, in looking at the business world, is that if you sit on this, you become theof test scores, the Enron of graduation rates. We need to indicate exactly what it all means, especially since we’ve already said that college-ready should be the indicator of high school completion.”
I admire her honesty. But is it really possible to make “college-ready” the standard for a high school diploma? Without fudging on what it takes to be college ready?
Statewide, 77 percent of New York students graduate from high school. Students must score a 65 on four of the state’s five required Regents exams to earn a Regents diploma. Starting next year, they’ll need to a 65 on all five.
Using data collected by state and, testing experts on a state committee determined last year that a 75 on the English Regents and a 80 on the math Regents roughly predicted that students would get at least a C in a college-level course in the same subject. Scores below that meant students had to often take remediation classes before they could do college-level work.
. . . In New York City, roughly 75 percent of public high school students who enroll in community colleges need to take remedial math or English courses before they can begin college-level work.
The Regents may raise graduation requirements to include four years of math and science. Another possibility is raising the passing score on high school exams to 75 in English and 80 in math, the college-ready level.
At the same time, the Regents are considering letting students substitute foreign language, economics or art — or a vocational skills test — for one of the five required Regents exams in math, English, science, global history and American history.
The state also could grant flexibility to districts to give credits to students who demonstrate competency, based on “examination or online course work,” in addition to “seat time.”