The (lack of) readiness is all

To improve college readiness and accelerate remediation, Texas will adopt a statewide college placement exam, reports the New York Times. College Board will develop the new assessment, which all colleges and universities will give to new students who score below the benchmark on state exams or college admissions tests. Currently, more than half of the state’s high school graduates do not test as ready for college.

. . . “We’ve been using a test that has no diagnostics,” Richard Rhodes, the president of Austin Community College, said of measuring college readiness. “We also haven’t across the board done a good job in preparation to take the test.”

Success rates are very low in the traditional remedial sequence, which can take several semesters — or years — to complete. Recent research has criticized placement tests for overestimating students’ remedial needs and lowering their chances for success.

Texas hopes the new placement exam will help high schools improve.

Some community colleges across the country, including El Paso Community College, have provided students the option to take a college placement exam their junior year of high school. Once they receive their scores, they can use them to guide their course work in their remaining year. (Analyst Pamela) Burdman said it could serve as an early intervention to increase students’ chances at success before they reached the point at which they needed remedial work.

. . . A few school districts across the state have collaborated with local community colleges in another way to increase graduates’ likelihood of success in higher education. At early-college high schools, students can take a higher number of dual-credit courses earlier than their peers at traditional high schools, allowing them at times to leave school with an associate degree.

Five Texas community colleges will implement a student success and completion plan called Texas Completes, reports Community College Times. The first steps:

Revise the curriculum to quickly get students into programs of study, streamline time to degree and facilitate transfer to four-year institutions.

Create a comprehensive student advising and management system that ensures students a strong start and consistent feedback along each step of their way through college.

Restructure developmental education to reduce time spent in pre-collegiate coursework.

Texas Completes is led by the Lone Star College System and includes Alamo CollegesDallas County Community College DistrictEl Paso Community College and South Texas College. Collectively, the five enroll more than one-third of all community college students in the state.