It’s hard to believe summer school is already over and in six short weeks we will be getting ready to kick-off the 2015-16 school year.

I would to spend some time talking about the very volatile subject of College and Career Readiness/College Remediation.

One of the major pushes across the country at this time is urgency to make sure students leave high school college and career ready. As a nation we understand if our students are going to compete for jobs in a larger global economy they are going to have to leave high school with the tools they are going to need to succeed.

Even with this knowledge and a renewed focus in this area, the fact is, many students leave high school not ready.

Statistics show that every year in the United States, nearly 60% of first-year college freshmen discover that despite being fully eligible to attend college, they are not ready for post-secondary studies.

After enrolling, these students find out they are going to have to take remedial classes in math, english, or both. The fact that remedial courses aren’t for credit causes students to be behind from the very start.

Research shows that states have been more successful in getting students into college than they have been in providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to complete certificates or degrees.

Even though students have done everything they have been asked to do in preparation for college they find that their diploma, college-preparatory certificate, or high school exit exam does not necessarily ensure college readiness.

This lack of readiness for college is one of the leading reasons for low graduation rates, showing the majority of students who have to start college in remedial courses never complete their degrees.

As a result, this must be one of the main areas of focus at the national, state, and local levels. There must be a collective effort to ensure students are prepared for success in high school, college, and beyond.

When looking at the gap between eligibility for college and the readiness to do college level work, research shows the type of post-secondary institution attended plays an important role.

There are basically 3 types of post-secondary institutions: highly selective four-year institutions, somewhat selective four year institutions, and non-selective or open-access two year colleges. The readiness gap is nominal in the most selective universities because their selection process screens out most students who are underprepared.

However, the gap is huge in the other two sections of higher education, which serve between 80-90% of undergraduates in public institutions. Research shows on an average about 25% of incoming students to these institutions are fully prepared for college-level studies. The remaining 75% need remediation in math, english, or both.

At selective four-year institutions about 50% of students need remediation. This huge readiness gap is costly to students, families, institutions, and taxpayers, and is a big obstacle to increasing the nation’s college attainment levels.

Locally we are constantly look at ways to increase the rigor of our curriculum as well as where each student is in the learning process in order to address gaps in learning, and work to correct them before the student leaves us.

As a District we are also committed to working with Crowder College and Missouri Southern State University to address the issue of remediation and what we need to do to fix it.

As a school and community, we must partner together to do all we can to prepare our students for success.

By Dan Decker

(Dan Decker is superintendent of the Neosho R-5 School District. He can be reached at 451-8600 or deckerdan@neoshor5.org.)

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