NYC High School Report: Students Aren’t College Ready

The alarming numbers in a new report that shows a huge proportion of students in college were not adequately prepared were revealed today when the New York City Department of Education released high school progress reports for last year, writes Rachel Cromidas at Gotham Schools.

In a nod to growing recognition that a high school diploma does not guarantee college success, the Department of Education has added data about each school’s course offerings and college enrollment rate to the annual reports, as was reported by Philissa Cramer at Gotham Schools.

The reports calculate the percentages of students who passed college-level exams or courses; who would not require remedial courses at CUNY colleges; and who enroll in college the fall after they graduate, although that information will not be factored into schools’ grades until next year.

The stakes are high. Schools that receive a grade of F or D, or get three C grades in a row, could face closure. This year, 41 schools received D’s or F’s, an increase over last year, while fewer high schools received A grades than in any year since the progress reports were created in 2007, writes Cromidas.

Shael Polakow-Suransky, the chief academic officer, attributed those changes to a tougher set of requirements around student performance on state tests, credit accumulation, and documentation for student discharges.

“I think we’re tightening things up and we’ve gotten a more precise result,” he said.

93 recently-opened schools weren’t given grades with their progress reports as they have not yet graduated a class. Also, the Department of Education is withholding grades from seven schools and placing them under investigation for problems with their data.

The most alarming conclusion from the report was that only one quarter of students who entered high school four years ago are graduating “college ready,” based on the city’s newly-adopted standards for college readiness that were devised by officials at the City University of New York, where close to 60 percent of the city’s public school graduates attend college.

“Just over 50 percent of our kids that enter CUNY have to take some kind of remedial coursework, and that fact is of serious concern to us because a lot of those kids are set up at a disadvantage,” Polakow-Suransky said.