Academic journal article International Journal of Psychology Research

Gender Differences in Texas College-Readiness Rates over Time

Academic journal article International Journal of Psychology Research

Gender Differences in Texas College-Readiness Rates over Time

Article excerpt

Frequently discussed in education today is the issue of college readiness (e.g., Bames & Slate, 2010, 2013; Bames, Slate, & Rojas-LeBouef, 2010), or lack thereof of students being college ready. Every year in the United States, almost 60% of first-year college students lack the academic preparedness for postsecondary education (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education & Southern Regional Education Board, 2010). For individuals who may not be familiar with the history behind college readiness, college readiness has been a concern for high schools and universities in the Unites States for over 60 years. In 1946, Wheat referred to the lack of articulation between the curriculum of high schools and colleges as a long time, growing problem. In 1957, the University of Oklahoma developed an experimental 8- week, non-credit summer program on college-readiness. Provided in this program was integrated training in composition, reading, vocabulary, and mathematics for the purpose of providing inadequately prepared students a preview of college work, make up their learning deficiencies, and provide them with the basic skills needed for a successful college performance (Kendall, 1957).

President Ronald Reagan established the National Commission on Excellence in Education in 1983. This commission was created with the intention of analyzing the quality of education in the United States, identifying those programs that brought about successful college students, and making recommendations and providing solutions for improvement. It also set the direction to high-stakes standardized tests and demanding accountability systems that acknowledged the skills and strategies that are required for college success-creativity, critical thinking, self-efficacy, and self-regulation (Barnes et ah, 2010; National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983).

High schools in the United States keep graduating unprepared students who lack learning and problem solving strategies, as well as the skills and knowledge required for a successful postsecondary education (Barnes & Slate, 2010, 2011; Symonds et ah, 2011). We believe that this lack of preparedness should not be a surprise because most states that have high school exit exams or other high-stakes tests measure competency at Grades 8 and 10 due to pressure placed on them to reduce the amount of non-graduating students. This problem is aggravated by the No Child Left Behind Act in which states are held accountable for completion rates. As such, states have not found it in their best interest to establish rigorous high school exit exams (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education & Southern Regional Education Board, 2010).

Barnes et al. (2010) noted a relationship between high scores in rigorous academic courses and/or standardized tests and college success. Moreover, Baum and Ma (2007) documented a relationship between postsecondary education and higher incomes. Cline, Bisseil, Hafner, and Katz (2007) reported a close relationship between college readiness and succeeding at work and in life. Furthermore, Dohm and Shniper (2007) indicated that almost three fourths of what have been projected as the fastest growing careers between 2006 and 2016 will need some type of post high school education. Thus, college readiness and its relationship with admission to postsecondary education and overall life success merit examination.

Green and Foster (2003) declared that high school graduation requirements are lower than college enrollment requirements. They suggested that this requirement inconsistency keeps many students from being able to enroll in college. More recently, Bailey and Karp (2003), Tresaugue (2008), and Barnes and Slate (2011) stated that a large number of students who graduate from Texas high schools are not sufficiently prepared for college and are constrained to taking developmental courses. Furthermore, Bettinger and Long (2004) indicated that students who take developmental courses have a higher probability of not completing college education. …

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