Report: Overwhelming Majority of CCRI Students Not ‘College Ready’
Friday, October 19, 2012
In a 2010 survey of incoming freshmen at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI), 92.4 of students said they were hoping to earn a certificate, degree or transfer from the school, but less than one third will do so in three years, according to a report released last month by researchers from the Rhode Island Campus Compact Engaged Scholars Statewide Presidential Faculty Fellowship Program.
The report, titled “Not ‘College Ready,’” breaks down previously released statistics such as the number of incoming CCRI students who have to take at least one remedial course as well graduation rates and suggests social promotion may be one of the leading reasons the majority of students find college level work “overly challenging.”
The numbers are striking.
For the 2010/11 school year, CCRI’s three-year graduation rate was just 9.6 percent, ranking Rhode Island No. 48 in the country when it comes to graduation rates from two-year institutions.
The transfer rate for that same time period was 20.8 percent.
Forty percent of first-time students stop taking classes after one year.
Seventy-three percent of incoming freshmen were deemed “developmental” and in need of remediation in at least one subject area.
- In 2008 and 2009, 12 percent of all credit hours at the college were for remedial courses.
“Even in light of significant remediation efforts over the years, the CCRI graduation rate has remained virtually unchanged,” the report states. “This suggests that either a greater emphasis needs to be placed on remediation, or that remediation, while pursuing a college curriculum, is futile.”
Poor NECAP Scores a Key Indicator
The researchers for the report analyzed reading and math scores on the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) exams for the state’s top 20 feeder communities to CCRI to identify the number of non-proficient students who were being promoted in middle and high school.
According to the report, “the average 11th grade math proficiency NECAP score from the top 20 feeder communities was just 26 percent, while the average graduation rate in the same 20 communities was 76 percent.”
On the reading exams, many of the largest CCRI feeder districts reported high percentages of their students as proficient while the urban districts lagged behind. For example, in Central Falls, 41 percent of 11th grade students were proficient in reading in 2011. In Providence, the proficiency rate was 56 percent.
“It is clear from the data that the current approach to academic remediation has not worked,” the report states. “Statewide, students that have struggled with proficiency in one subject or another seem to have been promoted to the next grade level regardless of their academic proficiency, as measured by NECAP.”
A Culture of Failure
The report goes on to suggest that social promotion “creates a culture of failure that rewards mediocrity,” and while some school districts have committed to addressing the problem, but the problem has largely gone unchecked.
Earlier this year, Education Commissioner Deborah Gist told GoLocalProv that schools need to offer a variety of options for helping struggling students, but made it clear that those schools who promote non-proficient students must be prepared to help them catch up.
“School districts are responsible for setting standards for student promotion, and we expect all districts and schools to promote students who are prepared to succeed at the next grade level,” Gist said at the time. “When students are not fully prepared to succeed, schools may still promote the students – but the school must also provide the support that these students need to continue their education and to keep up academically with their peers.”
The report also highlights issues such as chronic absenteeism (25 percent of all Rhode Island students missed at least 18 days of school in 2010/11), high student mobility rates, an overreliance on school suspensions and a high percentage of English Language Learners (ELL) as potential reasons students struggle to achieve proficiency on their NECAP tests.
As for solutions, the report suggests that because Rhode Island has one of the highest percentages of high school graduates pursuing college but one of the lowest proficiency rates of those states who take the NECAP, CCRI might want to consider requiring students to have a diploma or ask students to demonstrate they can meet “certain benchmarks for academic proficiency” before they can attend the college.
The bottom line is change is need in the state’s education system, the report says
“There are numerous business metaphors that parallel what we are currently experiencing within our education system in Rhode Island today: Typewriter manufacturers, the US Postal Service, and video rental stores, to name a few,” the report states. “The world changed, and they didn’t. Instead, they were mired in the way things used to be, and not the way they are today.”
- Nearly 4,000 Rhode Island Students have Defaulted on Loans Since 2009
- Over 7,800 Providence Students Were ‘Chronically Absent’ Last Year
- Prov. Schools Accused of Passing Failing Students
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