New report: Many high school grads not ready for college

News release from state comptroller’s office
The Comptroller’s Offices of Research and Education Accountability (OREA) has released a report on the college readiness of Tennessee students and efforts underway to reduce the need for and improve the effectiveness of postsecondary remediation.

Both nationally and in Tennessee, large numbers of students who graduate from high school are not adequately prepared or “ready” for postsecondary education. In 2014, based on an OREA analysis of available ACT scores, 75 percent of Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) community college freshmen, and 48 percent of TBR university freshmen, did not meet the TBR criteria for college readiness in math, reading, and/or writing. Approximately 28 percent of University of Tennessee freshmen did not meet the criteria set by their campuses for college readiness in math, reading, and/or writing in 2014.

Remediation, also known as developmental education or learning support, generally refers to academic requirements for students assessed as underprepared. Remediation is designed to address students’ weak reading, writing, and/or math skills so they are more academically successful in credit bearing entry-level college courses.

Several current K-12 initiatives focus on reducing the need for remediation by addressing students’ academic weaknesses prior to postsecondary education. Postsecondary reform initiatives are underway to increase the effectiveness of learning support.

Tennessee has shown progress in reducing the percentage of college freshmen assigned to postsecondary remediation. In 2014, 68 percent of community college freshmen in Tennessee were assigned to remediation courses, a decline from 77 percent in 2011. In 2014, 33 percent of TBR university freshmen were assigned to entry-level college courses that included some form of learning support, a decline from 43 percent in 2011.

Continued data development and research are needed for policymakers to track the college readiness of Tennessee students at the secondary and postsecondary levels and to evaluate the impact of recent reform initiatives.

OREA is a division within the Comptroller’s Office that is charged with providing accurate and objective policy research and analysis for the Tennessee General Assembly and the public.

To view the full report online, go HERE.