They have a high school diploma, are college eligible, but not college ready.
Annually, the College Board, a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity, administers the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The SAT is comprised of two main assessment sections: Math and Reading and Writing. A maximum score of 800 can be achieved for each section.
Each assessment section (Math, Reading, and Writing) has an associated set of metrics called the College and Career Readiness Benchmarks. The benchmarks provide a reasonable target to predict success in college level courses, defined as achieving a C grade.
The SAT Math benchmark of 530 is the section score associated with a 75 percent chance for earning at least a C in first semester, credit-bearing, college-level courses in algebra, statistics, precalculus, or calculus.
The SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) benchmark of 480 is the section score associated with a 75 percent chance for earning at least a C in first semester, credit bearing, college level courses in history, literature, social science, or writing.
All of the students with SAT scores below the benchmark scores will probably earn a high school diploma. They will be college eligible, but they will not be ready for college level courses and therefore be required to enroll in remedial and development math and English courses. High school graduates that require remedial education courses are very limited in their college choice with most choosing an open-access community college that only requires a high school diploma or equivalent for admission.
The success for students that require remedial education is not promising. According to the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, approximately 75 percent of the first-year students enrolling in a public two-year open access college require remedial work in English, math or both.
Data provided by the National Student Clearing House Research Center and the National Educational Longitudinal Study found that among students who take at least one remedial course, only 28 percent go on to complete a college credential within 8.5 years. Many of these students will lose eligibility for federal financial aid as the Department of Education 150 percent rule will take effect. The federal policy requires that to remain eligible for financial aid, a student must complete an associate degree in three years and baccalaureate in six years.
Researchers found that students who take remedial courses in their first year are 74 percent more likely to drop out of college. These students face drastically higher odds of never getting a degree and more likely to default on their student loans.
Parents, you need to wake up and get in the game. Your child’s future is at stake. Or, your child will become one of the negative statistics.
Unfortunately, the secondary school system is designed to grade promote without validation that students can read, write and perform basic math functions at the designated grade level. Yes, too many students graduate with less than a 12th grade education.
In some cases it is appropriate to blame the education leadership — especially the commissioner, superintendents, principals, and collective bargaining units — for the ineffective system.
However, the love of learning must start at home with parents. It is the parent’s responsibility to make education their priority over all other activities. It is the parent’s responsibility to set high expectations for their child’s behavior and learning and it is the parent’s responsibility to be a positive role model for the child in helping to shape the child’s opinions and attitudes about learning.
Michael Gargano. Jr. is former President, St. Vincent’s College, Provost Connecticut State College and University System, and Vice President Faculty, Academic, and Student Affairs University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.