Defining College Readiness from the Inside Out: First-Generation College Student Perspectives

By Byrd, Kathleen L.; MacDonald, Ginger | Community College Review, Fall 2005 | Go to article overview

Defining College Readiness from the Inside Out: First-Generation College Student Perspectives


Byrd, Kathleen L., MacDonald, Ginger, Community College Review


This study provides understanding of college readiness from the perspectives of older first-generation college students who transferred from community colleges. Results indicate that life experiences contribute to academic skills, time management, goal focus, and self-advocacy. Research is recommended to improve nontraditional student advising and placement, community college-to-university transfer, and college reading instruction.

**********

College readiness is one of seven national education priorities (U. S. Department of Education, 2000). Meanwhile, according to McCabe (2000), in a national study of community college education, 41% of entering community college students and 29% of all entering college students are underprepared in at least one of the basic skills of reading, writing, and math. Since the 1980s, colleges have increasingly required placement testing to determine college readiness and offered or required developmental or remedial education for students placing below college level (Amey & Long, 1998: King, Rasool, & Judge, 1994). While the rise in developmental programs and courses at community colleges might indicate that the problem of underpreparedness is growing, underpreparedness for college-level work is not a new phenomenon: rather it is a historical problem (Maxwell, as cited in Platt, 1986).

Even as a college education becomes increasingly imperative for social and economic success (Day & McCabe, 1997; Lavin, 2000; Ntiri, 2001), access to college is problematic for nontraditional or high-risk students. This situation is due to issues of academic, social, and economic readiness (Hoyt, 1999: Valadez, 1993). Increasingly, decisions about college readiness are made by standardized assessments. In the recent past, some colleges maintained open-enrollment policies that allowed nontraditional students to enter the system, but that is changing. Standardized-test-based admissions may overlook nontraditional students' historical and cultural background that might include strengths as well as deficits related to readiness for college.

This study explored the nature of college readiness from the perspectives of first-generation college students. The participants of this study had transferred to a university from a community college, were older than 25, and were of the first generation in their families to attend college. From the standpoint of successful degree-seeking students who fit this definition of nontraditional, the researchers explored these four general questions: (a) What does it mean to be ready for college? (b) What do successful nontraditional students bring to their college experiences that contribute to their success? (c) How can nontraditional learners be seen to have strengths and not just deficits? and (d) How are students prepared or not prepared for college in ways not measured by standardized tests?

Background

Prediction and College Readiness

College readiness involves prediction. Placement tests and other standardized measures are often used to predict students' readiness for college. Armstrong (1999) and King et al. (1994) concluded that the predictive value of standardized placement tests is questionable. In addition, Armstrong's (1999) study showed "little or no relationship between [placement] test scores and student performance in class" (p. 36). This current study attempts to explore the challenge set forth by King et al. (1994): "If scores do not predict success, then we must consider alternative explanations for student success" (p. 7).

Developmental Education Programs

Developmental education courses at community colleges help to provide underprepared students with math, reading and English, and study skills to succeed in college. Research findings from studies conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of such programs are predominately positive (Amey & Long, 1998; Hennessey, 1990; Hoyt, 1999; Kraska, Nadelman, Maner, & McCormick, 1990; Napoli & Hiltner, 1993).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Defining College Readiness from the Inside Out: First-Generation College Student Perspectives
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.