By Hussein Fardous ‘16
Demonstrating college readiness can save students money, time, and trouble. In addition, it can give them an edge on success in college. However, the CUNY requirements for college readiness have received widespread complaints.
According to Graduate NYC in the article “College Readiness and Success,” college readiness is defined as the level of academic knowledge/skills, key attitudes, and knowledge of college and careers a high school graduate needs to have to avoid remedial classes in college and make well informed college/career choices.
“College readiness should test students on their knowledge of current events and world affairs,” said Mr. Joseph Peters, an AP U.S. History teacher. “That’s what they need to participate in college discussions. Tests are just numbers that don’t measure hard work nor willingness to learn.”
There are specific requirements that will have to be displayed for high school students to demonstrate core academic knowledge and skills according to Robert A. Gentile from High School for Health Professions and Human Services in the article “Benefits of Demonstrating College Readiness.” Students will have to either obtain a 75 on the NYS English Regents, 480 on SAT 1 Verbal, 20 on ACT English, 70 on the reading section of the CUNY Assessment Test, or a 56 on writing section of the CAT Test to display mastery of English.
“The English requirements for demonstrating college readiness are a bit easy,” said Jeffrey Ng ‘16. “Harder requirements should be given to pick out those who truly understand the material. However, I like how there are several different areas in which the English requirements could be satisfied, giving students flexibility.”
However, Ms. Catherine Kaczmarek, an English teacher, said, “These expectations are reasonable, but testing can’t measure social and emotional skills. Testing alone can’t determine your readiness for college.”
Students will also have to either get a 480 on SAT 1 Math, 20 on ACT Math, 35 on CAT Math 1, 40 on CAT Math 2, or an 80 on any NYS Math Regents with satisfactory coursework that meets standards according to Robert A. Gentile. To meet these standards, students will have to acquire two credits in Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, or Geometry, pass Calculus or any math class that leads to college credit, or pass Trigonometry or Pre-Calculus while also attempting the respective regents or A.P. tests.
“The math requirements are simple to achieve and allow students to get ahead prior to applying for college,” said Irla Belli ‘16. “I presume that the addition of rigorous requirements will better prepare high school students for the intense work that comes with college enrollment.”
On the other hand, Mr. John Caldwell, an AP Statistics and Accelerated math teacher, said, “These requirements are reasonable, and it’s good that there is a baseline to see which students are college ready. However, colleges should consider that some students perform poorly due to external problems such as problems at home. Therefore, if students aren’t college ready and end up in remedial classes, partial credit should be awarded to these students for spending time and money there, instead of receiving no credit at all.”
High school students must also satisfy the requirements for showing key behaviors that imply students have engaged within a classroom and demonstrated responsibility to show college readiness according to Graduate NYC. Moreover, students must demonstrate knowledge of college/careers to show awareness of various careers that they can pursue. Students that attend school on a regular basis display these key behaviors, and students that fill out an application for college or fill out an application for student aid demonstrate awareness of college/careers.
“Satisfying the requirements for key behaviors and demonstrating knowledge of college/careers are just as important as demonstrating academic knowledge,” said Boris Arbuzov ‘16. “It shows that students care about their future and classes, and that there is always room for improvement even if they don’t do well on tests.”
In contrast, according to Mr. Peters, measuring college readiness by considering attendance is problematic. “It doesn’t take into consideration what the students are doing in class. Just because they are in class, it doesn’t mean they are engaged in the discussion and with the lesson being taught,” she said.
There are various benefits students get by displaying college readiness according to Robert A. Gentile. Students will have an improved chance of getting accepted to four year CUNY Colleges and don’t have to take a long and tedious CAT Test in reading, writing, and math. To add on, students who are interested in pursuing Associate or Baccalaureate programs in college could avoid remedial classes which costs students time and money for no credit that can take up to two years.
“Many students don’t take college readiness seriously regardless of all its benefits,” said Arbuzov ‘16. “Some take these requirements lightly and don’t prepare, especially for English, where students believe they can easily fulfill the requirements without putting in effort. More testing/practice must be given to students so they get more accustomed and prepared for the tests. This will help increase their chances in passing the requirements for college readiness.”
According to Mr. Peters, “Students don’t demonstrate college readiness despite all these benefits because some students are just not test takers or are not motivated to do well because they dislike the atmosphere of tests.”
Displaying college readiness could also give students leverage for success in the future. According to Harvard University’s Pathways to Prosperity Project of February 2011 in the article “College and Career Readiness” by Dr. John B. King, two-thirds of the 47 million jobs between 2009 and 2018 will go to students who have Associate degrees or higher. To get these degrees, students must display college readiness to qualify for competitive colleges that give these degrees.
In addition, the less time and money they spend on remedial classes, the more time and money they will have for higher education which decreases their chances of unemployment and increases their annual earnings significantly according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of 2011 in the article by Dr. King.
Lastly, students who show college readiness stand out to prestigious colleges. According to NYSED Office of Information and Reporting Services in the article by Dr. King as well, 35.3 percent of all high school 2012 graduates in NY were college ready.
Regardless of these benefits, some high school students aren’t motivated to perform well in school said Ms. Kaczmarek. These students might be performing poorly now but when they get to college, they start performing better because they will be paying for their classes. Raising awareness about college readiness can help motivate students to perform in school because they will be aware of the consequences if they don’t.