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Editorial: High school grads not fully prepared for college work

Aug. 27, 2013 @ 08:41 AM

If readers were uncertain about the challenges facing public schools today, the most recent round of ACT scores spell it out loud and clear.

Most high school graduates just are not prepared to succeed in higher education.

Nationally, only 26 percent of the students who took the ACT college entrance exam showed they were prepared for college level writing, algebra, biology and social sciences. In West Virginia, only 20 percent of students hit all four benchmarks, and in Kentucky only 18 percent.

West Virginia test-takers scored better in some areas, with almost 70 percent meeting the English benchmark, but only 33 percent made the grade in math. But still most students showed deficiencies in some area.

Meanwhile, career surveys show that the number of jobs available to those with only a high school education are few and dwindling.

So despite the smiling faces we see when our high school graduates take their diplomas each spring, most have an academic challenge. They need more education -- technical training, a vocational degree or perhaps a four-year university program -- but they will likely need remedial instruction to get there.

In fact, typically 70 percent of students enrolling in West Virginia community colleges have to take remedial courses. For four-year colleges, it is often 20-30 percent. That adds time, expense and often frustration for the students.

High school educators are well aware of the problem, and many schools are implementing more rigorous academic standards. But they need the support of parents and the public to make these programs successful.

Students simply need to get more accomplished in high school to improve their chances of building a successful career and future.

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