Not ready for college: Will the Core help?

Community college leaders hope Common Core standards and testing will reduce the need for remediation. Core-aligned tests evaluate 11th graders’ college readiness, giving them a year to catch up before starting college. But some think students may pass the new tests but still be unprepared for college-level work.

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  1. Michael E. Lopez says:

    Let me ask a question.

    Let’s say there’s a marathon, and our goal is to give everyone the chance to get over the finish line within, say, 6 hours.

    Does it make sense to let people know at the 24-mile mark that they are on track to finish in 8 hours, and that they need to “catch up”?

    Or would it make more sense to put that sort of warning sign back at the 4-mile mark, and tell those people that they are on a 9-hour pace and that they need to get it in gear?

    Additionally, one might ask whether or not the goal is finishing the marathon, or finishing the marathon within a certain period of time. We seem to put an awful lot of weight on the fact that we can force children to be in school under the power of law, but only for 16 or 18 years.

    • Let them know early and be honest and sincere about it

      Know a guy who came to teaching late. Early his first year he told his high school math class that performance wasn’t good and that many wouldn’t pass; unless improvements were made. Student raises his hand and says he can’t be failed again. Why not? “Because, I already failed a grade – 3rd; so I can’t be held back again.” Other students concurred. Guy responds – that was grade school; you can fail in high school until you “age out” and are pushed out without a diploma. Even IF I wanted to pass you along, you have to pass the high stakes exit exam. Take it home and think about the future you want…

      Most of those kids graduated and moved on to college.

      Kids are smart, they’ll figure out the system based on the data they have and what they observe; then act pretty rationally. From what I’ve seen, social promotion is pernicious.

  2. The best idea I heard was for the university systems to back-bill the graduating school district.

    If the districts don’t have any accountability, they won’t improve.

  3. Billing the school districts for unprepared students is a good idea, a better one is to simply NOT admit them in the first place.

    I’m sorry, your test scores indicate that you aren’t capable of handling college level coursework. We can let you enroll, but you’ll probably wind up dropping out after the first year, with a boatload of student loan debt (this should be told to every marginal student by the admissions office).