Experts say the primary factors are a lack of collaboration between universities and high schools, inadequate information about the expectations of college and an increase in the emphasis on attending college for students who previously would have pursued another track.I would be concerned about more "collaboration" between universities and secondary schools. There's already too much focus on sending students to universities. Industrial arts and other vocational programs are a mere shadow today of what they used to be and should be. Yes, every student should have the opportunity to go to college--if they prepare themselves academically--but not every student needs to go to college. More collaboration could exacerbate this trend of marking every student who doesn't go to college a failure. Share the standards, let us know what college students need--and let us provide that education to students. Those that master it will be ready to attend a university. Those that don't, won't be.
“Until recently, there was no effort to try to align the (university and high school) systems,” said Michal Kurlaender, a professor at UC Davis who is leading a team researching college readiness. “No one felt it was necessarily important. We focused on minimum competency like the high school exit exam.”
Among all freshmen entering California State University, Sacramento, this fall, 53 percent have to take remedial courses because they couldn’t pass placement tests for college-level math, English or both.
Students who fail the math test are required to enroll in a remedial class, while those who fail the English exam are given the choice of a remedial or standard course, said university officials. All are required to take a state-mandated college preparation course over the summer. Students who do not pass their remedial class within a year are sent to community college.
Nelsen sees the high remediation rates as a hurdle to students graduating in four years, a major goal of his presidency. The high number of students playing catch-up has been a perennial problem for California State University campuses. Students who take remedial courses don’t earn college credit and take longer to graduate, resulting in higher costs for students and taxpayers. It also diverts resources from degree-oriented coursework and leaves fewer university seats available.
Lest you think I'm being too harsh, I'll point out that there's an important, missing piece of data in the linked article, and that's what percentage of students do not pass their remedial classes, what percent don't pass and drop out, and what percent of who go back to community college don't make it back to a university and complete a degree. I've read elsewhere that those numbers are fairly high.
Here's a chart (from the link above) showing how bad the problem is: