“College readiness” has been redefined as ready to take middle-school courses in college, writes Checker Finn on Education Gadfly.
A movement for “co-requisite remediation” is placing remedial students in college-level courses, he complains.
Massachusetts will stop requiring a placement test for new students with a 2.7 grade point average (in all subjects). Those with a 2.4 grade point average who’ve passed four years of math also will be placed in college-level math.
A kid with a D in math but good grades in photography, gym, and basket weaving could easily end up with a 2.7 GPA, notes Finn. Four years of D’s in math and he needs only a 2.4 (C) average.
Florida’s open-access state colleges (formerly community colleges) now let students skip remediation and start in college-level courses, if they choose, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Alarmed by the high dropout and failure rates for college students who start out in remedial classes, Florida lawmakers voted last year to make such courses, and even the related placement tests, optional for anyone who…earned a [high school] diploma….The optional-remediation law is forcing professors in college-level composition classes to spend time on basic sentence structure, while mathematics teachers who were ready to plunge into algebra are going over fractions.
These students are earning college credit for learning middle-school skills, writes Finn.
There’s an easy way to make the reform look like a success.
Just teach fractions and sentence structure to students in courses that you label “college-level” — even though they’re not. Dumb ‘em down. Cheapen the currency. And again defraud the students (and anyone who might someday contemplate employing them) into believing that they really were prepared for college and are now getting a college education, even though neither of those statements is actually true.
Employers already are concerned that college graduates lack important skills, writes Finn. There’s “mounting evidence” that many graduates haven’t learned very much. Sending more unprepared students to college further cheapens the meaning of “college-educated,” he argues.