ERIC Number: EJ1092900
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
College Readiness for All?
Hess, Frederick M.
Educational Leadership, v73 n6 p36-41 Mar 2016
In recent years, American education has enthusiastically adopted the mantra of "college readiness for all." What's not to like about that? Frederick Hess says that although he considers college readiness an admirable goal, he has serious reservations about advocates, funders, and policymakers imposing this norm across all schools. His reservations are threefold. First, he's not sure the slogan helps in any meaningful way. The suggestions reformers offer for achieving the goal are often not new, and they tend to be too difficult to achieve consistently or too simple to be totally effective. Second, it's not all that clear what college readiness actually means. Definitions of college readiness do not necessarily mean being ready for a four-year university education. They may simply mean being ready for some kind of post-high school training, which is something schools have always sought to provide, with inconsistent results. Third, the focus on college readiness can undermine sensible programs and efforts, while opening the door to fads. A focus on college for all can mean lowering the bar, as revealed in rising grade point averages accompanied by lower standardized test scores. When schools are successful at making college preparation part of their DNA, reformers may try to mimic the model, without attention to context. Hess encourages educators to keep the focus on college readiness in perspective, treating it as an aspiration, rather than a driver of reform.
Descriptors: College Readiness, Definitions, Access to Education, Standards, College Preparation, Educational Change
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A