Arizona college to require 7th-grade skills

New students will need seventh-grade reading, writing and math skills — plus a high school diploma or GED — to enroll at a Tucson community college next year. Those who don’t qualify can take adult education classes or “learning modules,” but won’t qualify for financial aid. Currently, only 5 percent of students in remedial classes advance to college-level work, says Pima Community College’s president.

Also on Community College Spotlight: Why do A and B students end up in remedial English? High school teaches literature, while college demands writing skills.

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  1. Anyone with a HS diploma and less HS-grad-level knowledge and skills should be the responsibility of the HS. Period. The school issued a fraudulent diploma and any remediation needed should be the school’s responsibility, with no extra funding. The problem is rooted in the k-12 system and the fix should be there.

    Universities and colleges should not admit kids needing remediation. SAT/ACT scores can be used to identify the college-ready. The educational fraud needs to stop, now.

    • What about an adult who has been out of high school a decade or more? Is the failure to pass the placement exam truly the school’s fault so many years out? I got A’s in high school and college calculus, but if I were given an algebra II or trig exam at this point, I’d probably fail simply because it’s been so long and I haven’t used any of it.

      Now the teenagers who fail the placement exam, THAT is the fault of the schools.

  2. Michael E. Lopez says:

    Momof4 saith:

    Anyone with a HS diploma and less HS-grad-level knowledge and skills should be the responsibility of the HS. Period.

    That can only be true, practically speaking, if the HS has the ability to set its own minimum threshold for skills and keep people in junior high until they are ready for high school. Admittedly, that’s a pretty low bar, but it’s an important one. We tell parents not to enroll their kids in 1st grade if they’re not “ready” for first grade.

    Why do schools allow students to enroll in high school who aren’t ready for high school?

  3. MagisterGreen says:

    “High school teaches literature”

    That’s generous.

  4. Anyone with a HS diploma and less HS-grad-level knowledge and skills should be the responsibility of the HS. Period.

    I’m pretty sure that the HS will *not* be given more funds from the state to perform the required remediation. For one thing, increasing the HS budget because the kids aren’t learning is fraught with moral hazard.

    So … once a HS starts falling behind, how does it recover? The earlier failed students will be showing up at the HS, not the local CC. The HS is responsible for educating these kids (unless I misunderstand you). This leaves less money per student. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

    I’m actually fine with the CCs offering remedial classes. They need to be somewhere, and I *really* don’t like 4-year colleges offering these classes.

  5. Deirdre Mundy says:

    Seems unfair… why should a 5th grader with 7th grade skills be excluded from CC programs just because she doesn’t happen to have enough “time in seat” to earn a HS diploma? Especially since (as discussed in an earlier thread) it’s apparently unfair to expect public schools to waste time and effort on the top 5-10% of students?

    • There could – and should – be an expansion of programs like MN’s PSEO (post secondary enrollment options), so that qualified kids at any grade could participate. PSEO allows qualified HS students – primarily juniors and seniors- to take college classes (either CC or university) and the local districts pays tuition, fees and books. I know that some kids have used it to bypass HS altogether. The enrollment was easy, at least for my son, who was unhappy with the caliber of his HS foreign language class. Deirdre, and others who have said the same, is right that we need to get away from seat time as a (fraudulent) measure of learning.

  6. I should have included the previous steps; ES and MS. If both do their jobs and don’t advance unready kids, then the problem can be addressed at more appropriate levels. Maybe we need more downward pressure from HS to MS to ES and more publicity. If kids are getting decent grades (and with grade inflation, they do), many parents don’t realize that their kids are nowhere near grade level; some publicity on the percentage of unready kids might help. A huge stumbling block is at the admin level, I realize, with plenty of interference from the school board, the state and the federal levels, but we really have to get serious about standards, both behavioral and academic, and it won’t happen without serious consequences.

  7. GoogleMaster says:

    I had to follow the links to find out that “entering college students need 7th grade skills” wasn’t an article from The Onion. Sigh.