High School Students are Not College Ready, According to Analysis

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Paige Houpt
By Mason Times staff writer

When Kirk Reed stepped foot into his first college class, he thought he had all the necessary tools to survive freshman year. It wasn’t until he reached the end of that semester he knew it wasn’t going to be an easy journey.

Reed is just one of thousands of Michigan high school graduates who needed more preparation in high school to prepare  for the challenging college curriculum.

A report released by the Michigan Department of Education found that more than half of the high schools across the state, fewer than 20 percent of students who will graduate this spring were college ready.

Reed who graduated from Mason High School in 2007, said he wished his high school would have motivated students more to take ACT prep courses.

“ Basically if you wanted to go to a good college you had to seek out the extra help and make an appointment with the counselor. There was no prepping for ACT exams or college besides taking advanced placement classes.”
— Kirk Reed

Reed spent one year at Alma College after graduating from Mason High School. Because of the pricey tuition of a liberal arts college, he is now attending Lansing Community College to pursue an associate’s degree in psychology.

Exterior main entrance to Mason High School

Staff Photo of Mason High School

The analysis released on Feb. 22, summarized the state’s high school test scores from the Michigan Merit Exam and the ACT.

According to the analysis, the ACT Definition of College and Career Readiness is defined as the percentage of students that meet the four minimum scores on the ACT: 18 on English, 22 on math, 21 on reading and 24 on science.

Fewer than 15 percent of Mason High School seniors set to graduate this spring are considered college ready set by the standards by ACT research.

Although Mason High school doesn’t require students to take any preparation courses for standardized testing, instead they encourage educators in the classroom to prepare students in continuing their education, said Lance Delbridge, Mason High School principal.

“We have been to numerous education conventions and they all focus on the same thing, and that’s if students have engaged teachers and structured classrooms they will do well on standardized testing,” Delbridge said.

In efforts to prepare students for standardized testing in high school, Mason requires students take practice exams before their expected junior year.

Mason public schools require students in eighth grade to take an ACT Plan test, which will give students an idea of what content is on the real exam. Once students reach their freshman year of high school, they are required to take an ACT Explore test, which gives students an indication how they will score on the ACT.

Mason is changing its preparation this year and sophomores will be required to take the ACT Plan test one more time before the actually assessment usually taken their junior year.

“It gives them a nice dose and good preparation before the big show,” Delbridge said.

In the unanimous adoption of its reform priorities, the Board of Education recommended schools reorganize to improve education performance for the future.

“Our goal is a performance-driven education system,” said John Austin, board president in a statement released by the Board of Education, “where Michigan’s students advance at grade-level or faster, and graduate from high school with the skills needed for post-secondary learning without needing remedial work. Our recommendations lay the foundation for this results-driven system in Michigan.”

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