Some College Students More Prepared than Placement Tests Indicate

By: CAP Central Staff
November 2015

Not long ago I was at a meeting of community college and high school faculty, talking about college readiness in our region. “Tell us what we need to do,” said one high school teacher, frustrated that so many of her students were ending up in remedial courses when they enrolled in a community college. “We really want them to be prepared for you guys.”

Three-quarters of California community college students are classified “unprepared” upon entry, and their long-term outcomes are bleak. Just 40 percent of unprepared students go on to complete a degree or certificate, or transfer, within six years, compared to 70 percent of prepared students.

This is often framed as a “college readiness” problem in the high schools, but a growing body of research shows that incoming students are actually more ready than community colleges have recognized.