NYC: 23% are college or career ready

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 the Enron of 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 community colleges, 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.”

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  1. I think that equating possession of a HS diploma and readiness for college-level work is only possible in Lake Woebegon (like Scarsdale), where all kids are above average.

  2. If 75% of high school graduates in NY State need remediation at the state’s community colleges, why are they even allowed to be admitted in the first place? A college that has a student’s best interest at heart should give the students placement exams, and tell them frankly and truthfully (if they don’t do well):

    I’m sorry, but you do not have the knowledge at present to succeed in college, perhaps you might consider going to adult education courses to get your skills up to speed.

    However, since a college is only interested in the money a student might plunk down, they won’t say this tidbit of truth (lest the student have their self-esteem damaged).

  3. I guess Mayor Moneybags hasn’t been doing such a great job after all

  4. NY parents shoud be suing the public schools for fraud. They have no business issuing graduation certificates to illiterates. What did they do with all the money?

  5. Well, the high school diploma in 2010 isn’t what it used to be in say 1980, 1970, 1960, or in the 1950’s. I met a manager of a environmental business on Feb 7th, and we were grabbing a bite to eat, and we seemed to agree on the quality of entry level workers in general (those in high school, dropouts, high school graduates, and some college graduates).

    We found that we agreed that many entry level workers lacked solid reading and math skills which were fundamental to their success as employees. The manager also told me he has had to hold training classes since so many of the workers lack basic skills in reading and math (which is pathetic, in my opinion). In reviewing some of the graduates he has seen from college, the situation is only slightly better as many graduates seem to have a sense of entitlement over what would be classified as little or no actual achievement.

    The taxpayers of many states should be suing their school districts for fraud, not the students, and certainly not their parents.

  6. Tim-10-ber says:

    Please beef up K-12, stop trying to send all kids to college. Don’t need there and they don’t need to go. Good voc-tech is fine for many. Challenge them academically, please. Stop dumbing down college.

  7. If we go back a century, most of the skills (though not all the subject-matter knowledge) we aspire for our HS grads to have were required in the K-6 curriculum.

    We should do that again.  Those who can’t make the grade, perhaps ought not to be considered for further academic work.  And those who are utter failures at everything should perhaps be paid to keep them from certain costly-to-society mistakes.

  8. In many nations in Europe, a students formal education usually ends around 15 or 16, and only through testing do the very best students go on to higher education, the rest go to vocational training, work, whatever.

    However, the 15-16 year old in Europe’s schools is generally better prepare and more knowledgeable than a high school graduate in the US, as I’ve seen many foreign exchange students say how ‘easy’ the high school courses were, having taken the equivalent courses already before coming to the US.