Links of the Day:

- Only 35 percent of New York State students who graduate high school in four years are considered “college ready.” That means they scored 80 percent or higher on a Regents math test and 75 percent or higher on a Regents English test.

In the Rochester City School District, only 6 percent of graduates are college ready. When you factor in the graduation rate, the statistics show only 3 out of 100 students who enter high school will graduate on time and college ready four years later.

The SUNY system, stung by the enormous cost of remediation programs at community colleges, is now considering a test that would be administered to high school students their sophomore year to assess college preparedness. The Syracuse Post-Standard reports:

“If we could possibly administer something commonly across the state in the sophomore year, we would have all of the junior and senior year to work through improvement and remediation,” (SUNY Chancellor Nancy) Zimpher said.

The chancellor has identified the remediation issue as a key focus for SUNY this year. Statewide, 40 percent to 70 percent of students seeking a two-year associate’s degree arrive on campus needing to take at least one remedial course. Those students end up spending their time and money on classes that offer no college credits.

(snip)

Zimpher said SUNY spends $70 million a year on remediation at its community colleges. In addition, students spend 20 percent of their financial aid — or $93 million a year — on non-credit remedial classes. Nearly $40 million of that aid is in loans that students must repay.

At Monroe Community College, one in three students needs remedial classes.

Is another test to assess college readiness really necessary? What’s the role of the SAT? If students haven’t passed any Regents tests by sophomore year, that’s an obvious sign the student is not college ready. Also, perhaps the state should consider raising the bar to get a diploma or redefining what it considers college ready. Passing two Regents tests with middling scores hardly seems adequate.

- There’s a nationwide movement of undocumented immigrants coming out of the shadows and daring immigration officials to deport them. The Post-Standard has a compelling story of one such man, beloved in his community.

- Landscapes drawn by an Attica inmate imprisoned for murder are featured in Golf Digest.

- Should tenure for college professors be abolished?

- Scrap metal thieves are getting desperate, turning to public toilet parts in a Buffalo suburb.

Posted in Education, News | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

9 Responses to Do We Need Another Test?

  1. June 25, 2012 at 8:37 am John Moriello responds:

    It’s possible for a student to spend six years in high school while completing grades 9-12. It’s also possible that this student spends almost all of his/her first two years at a junior college doing remedial work just to get up to speed for degree-track courses. God willing, a minimum of another JC year and then two years (probably 3-4) at a SUNY four-year school follows.

    Almost all of that is at the expense of taxpayers, through property taxes for the public school district and then heavily-subsidized community colleges and four-year SUNY schools.

    Is it any wonder that the people paying the freight are fed up?

  2. >> “The SUNY system, stung by the enormous cost of remediation programs at community colleges, is now considering a test that would be administered to high school students their sophomore year to assess college preparedness.”

    Two thoughts:

    1. Do you really need to keep testing something when you already know the answer going in? Testing is not the problem here. Give the same kids the same tests repeatedly won’t change anything.

    2. This is a typical response to govt. failure, try to fix it with more govt. Bad govt. begets more bad govt.

  3. Over the years, I have consistently questioned the role of standardized testing as a reliable tool for evaluating college readiness.

    For lack of a better term, I suffered from what can most likely be referred to as ‘test phobia’ in high school. As I recall, my SAT score was borderline, whereby my ability to get into college was questionable.

    After spending two years at the Eastman School of Music, I decided that music was not going to be my career path. It took me many years to find the courage to explore another college route, knowing that most university systems relied heavily upon standardized testing as grading criteria.

    Fortunately, in 1990, at age 40, I discovered Empire State College. What appealed to me was Empire’s focus on individual study via a mentoring system, whereby evaluations were primarily based upon one-on-one interactions with mentors and written essays that display ample evidence of knowledge gained from courses. I did very well at Empire, receving a B.A. in Humanities in 1992.

    After graduating from Empire State College, I went on to earn two graduate degrees from St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry. Much like Empire State College, the grading criteria was based primarily on what I was able to write in conjunction with my courses. I graduated with a 3.85 GPA and received an academic achievement award.

    If it wasn’t for the fact that my undergraduate and graduate schools utilized criteria other than standardized testing, I am not sure I would have survived. So, I believe high schools need to develop alternative testing methods in order to meet the needs of students with different learning styles.

  4. June 25, 2012 at 9:51 am Reggie Henderson responds:

    Hey Rachel, your definition of college ready might be different from other peoples. Do you mean Cornell ready? U of R ready? Geneseo ready? Brockport ready? MCC ready? specialty colleges in the south for religious groups and/or ethnic groups? In any case, let me give you an example of “college ready”. I know a student that scored 80 on the Regents English (ok, it’s above 75, but not by a lot) and 74 on Math B. This student went on to University of Connecticut received freshmen year grades in statistic of A-, and college writing, A-, and the student made the Dean’s list. I personally only received a 79 on my English Regents and I graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Economics. So the question is, if that’s the kind of performance that people in the 79-80 range of the Regent’s English class achieve, is it really fair to say that someone that gets a 70 or maybe even a 60 on the English Regents isn’t ready for college. Whoops… wait… I also have some personal experience with even lower scores, I’m pretty sure that on the scale that I and my UConn friend were graded, another aquaintance would have gotten about a 40, but… that student got whatever was needed to pass (55 or 65). So I think they do put in a whole different standard for passing the exam (or maybe because of a different school and teacher grading?) than the standards they use to give you above passing grades. Conclusion 1, colleges are correct in mainly using national standardized tests (SAT,ACT) because everything else is subjective and the scores are not only not comparable between schools, but even between students taking the same tests. (e.g. I’m sure there’s a huge range of ability in the passing versus just over passing grades on the English regents). Conclusion 2: I’m certain there are people with less than 80 on a math regents and less than 75 on an English Regents that are college ready. Conclusion 3: We have the SAT and ACT, they work, why test a kid as a sophomore instead of as a senior (or even post-high school)?

  5. re new pre-college school testing:

    More absolute insanity. The public education industry continmues to beat the snot out of our kids.

    They need to read Joh Taylor Gatto to whom NYS gave its teacher of the year award in 1992:
    http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/john_gatto.html

    “Why Schools Don’t Educate”

    by John Taylor Gatto

    “Our school crisis is a reflection of this greater social crisis. We seem to have lost our identity. Children and old people are penned up and locked away from the business of the world to a degree without precedent – nobody talks to them anymore and without children and old people mixing in daily life a community has no future and no past, only a continuous present. In fact, the name “community” hardly applies to the way we interact with each other. We live in networks, not communities, and everyone I know is lonely because of that. In some strange way school is a major actor in this tragedy just as it is a major actor in the widening guilt among social classes. Using school as a sorting mechanism we appear to be on the way to creating a caste system, complete with untouchables who wander through subway trains begging and sleep on the streets.”

    and…

    “Schools were designed by Horace Mann and Barnard Sears and Harper of the University of Chicago and Thorndyke of Columbia Teachers College and some other men to be instruments of the scientific management of a mass population. Schools are intended to produce through the application of formulae, formulaic human beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlled.

    To a very great extent, schools succeed in doing this. But our society is disintegrating, and in such a society, the only successful people are self-reliant, confident, and individualistic – because the community life which protects the dependent and the weak is dead. The products of schooling are, as I’ve said, irrelevant. Well-schooled people are irrelevant. They can sell film and razor blades, push paper and talk on the telephones, or sit mindlessly before a flickering computer terminal but as human beings they are useless. Useless to others and useless to themselves.”

    and….

    “Genuine reform is possible but it shouldn’t cost anything. We need to rethink the fundamental premises of schooling and decide what it is we want all children to learn and why. For 140 years this nation has tried to impose objectives downward from the lofty command center made up of “experts”, a central elite of social engineers. It hasn’t worked. It won’t work. And it is a gross betrayal of the democratic promise that once made this nation a noble experiment. The Russian attempt to create Plato’s republic in Eastern Europe has exploded before [our] eyes, our own attempt to impose the same sort of central orthodoxy using the schools as an instrument is also coming apart at the seams, albeit more slowly and painfully. It doesn’t work because its fundamental premises are mechanical, anti-human, and hostile to family life. Lives can be controlled by machine education but they will always fight back with weapons of social pathology – drugs, violence, self-destruction, indifference, and the symptoms I see in the children I teach.”

    Sorry, Jogn, I hope I didn’t violate your copyright. Somehow, I know you wouldn’t have minded.

  6. Honestly cannot make my mind up about this. I do know it was frustrating and sad at SUNY Brockport to peer-edit a fellow student’s paper that turned out to be a three page long paragraph.

  7. Run-on paragragh?

  8. words of J.T. Gatto:

    “But keep in mind that in the United States almost nobody who reads, writes or does arithmetic gets much respect. We are a land of talkers, we pay talkers the most and admire talkers the most, and so our children talk constantly, following the public models of television and schoolteachers. It is very difficult to teach the “basics” anymore because they really aren’t basic to the society we’ve made.”

  9. June 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm lynn e responds:

    My brother wrote papers at MCC that began with a capital letter and ended with a period. My mother worked on his papers for editing. He had a learning disability and that wasn’t going to change with remediation. He took classes at MCC and later SUNY Brockport that involved more talking than writing, and was often on the honor roll. He is now a professional with a good job. More school would have been torture for him and he spent so much time being remediated. What truly matter for him was my mother and her push for him to get a college degree. Many people don’t have that and when they go to MCC, they lack the guidance to graduate and get out. Many languish without direction and don’t finish. It’s graduation rate is 23%. They don’t publish the rates very clearly.

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