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Many Texas Grads Not Ready for College, Panel Says


Texas high school graduates enter college far less ready for the harder course load than other students do, according to new research. The study shows nearly half of the state’s college freshmen take remedial classes, which includes 63 percent of college-bound Hispanics who qualify for remedial programs.

The number is well above the 28 percent of freshmen elsewhere in the United States who are enrolled in remedial or development courses, according to data unveiled by a state panel appointed by Gov. Rick Perry.

The Commission for a College Ready Texas went on to say that state curriculum standards are too flimsy and that a passing score on the state’s high school graduation test does not prove a student is ready for college.

“We have a big hill to climb in Texas,” said Sandy Kress, chairman of the commission and former education adviser to President Bush.

“This report is for parents, teachers and students,” education board member Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, told the Star-Telegram. Cargill is also a member of the Commission for a College Ready Texas. “It’s a guidebook that will give [teachers] an understanding of what the business world expects, so when a huge company in Texas wants to hire employees, they won’t have to go out of state to find employees.”

Among the recommendations the panel plans to make to state education leaders is for new, college-oriented curriculum standards for English, math, science and social studies courses taught in public schools.

The commission also recommends that all institutions of higher education that are responsible for teacher preparation, including alternative certification, should incorporate these standards. Institutions should also be rewarded for increasing the number of students who successfully complete their degree programs, it said.

The study noted that only 18 percent of Texas students who took the ACT college entrance exam met college readiness benchmarks in those areas. The percentages were even smaller for Black and Hispanic students.

Other findings included:

  • Only 18 percent of Texans who took the ACT college preparatory exam met college-readiness benchmarks.
  • About 17 percent of 10th-graders are on target to be college-ready. Only 8 percent of eighth-graders are on target.
  • About half of Texans entering college do not meet state standards for math, reading and writing and are eligible for remedial courses.
  • About 63 percent of college-bound Hispanics from Texas qualify for remedial programs.
  • About 71 percent of college-bound African-Americans from Texas qualify for remedial programs. 

The panel also found that 61 percent of students are not academically prepared to succeed in postsecondary education.

Recommendations were made to the State Board of Education and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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