Fewer Westchester County high school graduates are ready for college

by Grace

Local high schools continue to graduate high percentages of students, but fewer of those students are actually ready for college, according to new high-performance measures released Tuesday by the state.

Half of Westchester and Rockland graduates and 43 percent of Putnam graduates in June 2010 fell short of one top standard, measuring scores on English and math Regents exams.

A second standard, a Regents diploma with “advanced designation,” was earned by 45 percent of Rockland graduates, 46 percent of Putnam graduates and 31 percent of Westchester graduates — keeping in mind that several elite districts in Westchester use alternative testing….

The two new standards are designed to measure “aspirational performance,” according to state officials.

One standard requires that graduates score at least 75 on their English Regents exam and at least 80 on a math Regents exam.

This standard, Aspirational Performance Measure (APM), was formerly called “career and college ready”.   It measures the minimal requirements for college readiness, including the ability to score at least 80 on a basic algebra test (Integrated Algebra Regents Exam).  The low percentage of graduates meeting this standard is abysmal, especially considering that Westchester County spends an average $24,636 per pupil, the highest in the state and among the highest in the country.

Even in my local school district, where average per pupil spending is now up to $23,389 per year and where over 90% of graduates  go on to college, only 59% of high school graduates are considered “college ready”.

In 2010, getting 50% of the answers correct earned a score of 80 for students who took the Integrated Algebra Regents Exam.

Related:  Typical undergrad ‘could not write a paper or solve an algebra problem’

Related:  36% of college students take remedial class


*  Graduation rate: Percentage of enrollment graduating in four years (not counting summer school)

**  APM: the new Aspirational Performance Measure is the percentage of students who graduated on time and scored at least 80 in Regents math and at least 75 on Regents English —formerly called “career and college ready” graduates

***  Advanced-designation Regents diplomas: The percent of students who graduated on time with a Regents diploma with Advanced Designation (not all districts participate)

6 Responses to “Fewer Westchester County high school graduates are ready for college”

  1. Given that I don’t believe all kids are “college material” and will never be “college ready”, I think a 59% rate is really good. Looking more closely at the stats, I suspect that college readiness ties heavilly with a district’s overall educational level and culture. For example, In Briarcliff, 90% of the graduates are college ready, and in Scarsdale 88% are. Those are towns in which most parents are well educated professionals who make sure their kids can get into a good college. Eastchester and Tuckahoe still have a large non-college-educated population (albeit wealthy non-college people in Eastchester – self employed plumbers and the like). I know some of those families. They just are not raising their kids to value “college readiness”. In many cases, they expect their kids to go into the family plumbing or auto shop business. And then finally, you have the very sad cases of Yonkers and Mount Vernon, districts that are simply bad urban districts, where kids often don’t even know anyone who has gone to college.


  2. I just checked the school profile for my son’s school (in California, where the funding per student is under $10k). They claim 56% 4-year-college-ready, 38% enrolled in 4-year college, 35% enrolled in 2-year college. Not very impressive statistics for a college town.


  3. In Michigan, we require all students to take the ACT. In the so-called “high-performing districts” (of which we are one), less than 40% of the students pass all four of the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks.

    Click to access CRS.pdf

    ACT’s College Readiness Benchmark
    Scores, given in the table below, are early indicators of likely college
    success based on those same scores. College Readiness Benchmark Scores
    for the ACT represent median test scores that are predictive of student
    success* in relevant college courses. The EXPLORE and PLAN
    Benchmark Scores are indicative of probable readiness for college-level
    work by the time the student graduates from high school. Used together,
    the Standards and the Benchmark Scores provide an effective means for
    communicating college readiness expectations to middle and high schools
    and for measuring progress toward them

    *Success is defined
    as a 50% or higher
    probability of
    earning a B or
    higher in the
    college course or


  4. BKM — I agree that all kids are not college material, and policies that advocate “college for all” are misguided. However, I don’t know of any families here that do NOT aspire for their kids to attend college. And if they themselves do not possess college degrees, they are probably relying on the school to help them understand what it takes for their kids to graduate high school ready for college. It appears these kids are passing algebra 1 courses and maybe even algebra 2, but they’re apparently not able to do well on the state algebra exams, which have been criticized for their low standards.

    When I once asked a middle school teacher to help me get my D to read more non-fiction outside of her assigned reading, the teacher cautioned me about piling too much of a workload on my D. This is just one anecdote that makes me question if our schools could be doing anything differently.


  5. From gasstation & Mike’s comments, it sounds as if there are many relatively “high performing” school districts that are graduating students who are not college ready. Based on the commentary I’ve seen from college professors, I’m not surprised.



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