Many Oklahoma students say they're unprepared for college

By: Tom Johnson Email
By: Tom Johnson Email

TISHOMINGO, OK -- State lawmakers met yesterday with an interim task force to look at the Academic Classroom Excellence Act of 2005 and find a way to better assess a student's achievement with less testing. But many graduating seniors are already finding themselves at a disadvantage.

"You don't want to put somebody in a college algebra class who can't do it," said Amanda Balbridge, Director of Counseling for Murray State College.

"They have the background or education to be successful."

32% of all entering freshman in Oklahoma's colleges are currently enrolled in a remedial courses designed to get them up to speed with their high school curriculum before even earning a credit. Clifton Branum spent a year out of college before enrolling at Murray State to earn money toward his education but is now paying for a class that won't go towards his degree.

"It's early in the morning and I have to get up for a class where I already know half the stuff," said Branum. "But then again I don't know some of the stuff because I wasn't really taught it in high school."

Oklahoma favors the ACT for its preferred entry exam but only 18% of those tested in the state score at a college-ready level 5% lower than the national average. And the possibility of fewer tests in high school has some students worried.

"There's not enough standardized tests and they're not real tough," said Spencer Kells, Murray State freshman.

"They need to give us more tests in high school for sure."

"If they had less tests we probably wouldn't even make it to college," said Timmie Runnells, Murray State freshman.

"They really don't give you enough work to do in high school."

Murray State is an open-enrollment institute which has a second placement test in case of low ACT scores, ut in the end it's practice that makes perfect.

"You'll find that a lot of students who may not have scored as high on the ACT often score better on our placement tests," said Balbridge.

"They don't have the time limits, because it's not timed and they're able to do it in a more comfortable place."

"High school students may not like all the tests that we have to take but its going to help you out in the long run to take them," said Branum.

And with a little more time spent preparing, each student will get a chance at an education.


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  • by Ralph Location: Denison on Aug 27, 2009 at 08:47 PM
    A kid gets a passing grade, AND passes the standardized tests. What is a parent to do, disagree with these established indicators of proficiency? It's not just the kids who participated in sports etc. in HS who are having this problem when they get into college. Perhaps the high schools should administer the same tests the colleges are using. OR perhaps colleges should reconsider their degree requirements. Many degrees require algebra etc, yet depending upon their major and intended profession, the student never has the need to use it outside the classroom.
  • by Leeroy Location: silo on Aug 27, 2009 at 02:19 PM
    I feel like part of the problem also is kids are spending to much time in sports and not in education. There are kids who miss 30-40 class periods a year for sports. How many will make professional athletes? America must change its priorities. How much funding does state championships bring to the school districts?
  • by deb Location: durant on Aug 27, 2009 at 01:23 PM
    i went to a meet the parent night just the other night. i was told that there will be homework every night. there will be at least 2 test every week. and that was in first grade. and as a 1st grader you get 1 twenty min. recess right after lunch. looks to me like they need to lighten up in elementary levels and buckle down in the higher levels. just my thoughts.
  • by jj on Aug 27, 2009 at 11:44 AM
    You can't blame all of this on the Schools. Manners and work ethic begin at home. There are alot of parents that need to take a hard look at what they are teaching their children. Befor whining about what a school is not teaching them. How ever I do think something should be done about High School sports. In alot of cases a good ballplayer be given a passing grade based on what happens on the field and not the classroom
  • by grumpy Location: sherman on Aug 27, 2009 at 10:41 AM
    I agree with Sue. The problem is not found just in Oklahoma. What we have happening in our schools systems is teaching to pass a test (memorize) and not teaching to learn. It isn't the fault of the teachers, but instead legislators who know little to nothing about education. Test that are given today have little to do with what the students actually know. It has everything to do with what looks good to get federal and state funding. Forget about the standardized testing and allow teachers to get back to the basics of reading, writing, and arithmatic. Politicians have made millionaires out of the testing companies!
  • by Sue Location: texoma on Aug 27, 2009 at 09:51 AM
    I lived in Ft. Worth for nearly ten years and they're not doing any better down there. In fact, some schools were graduating students who could not read. It's a nationwide problem. The educational system is so terrified of flunking a student that they will let anyone graduate, and they usually give them pretty good grades. Add to that the fact that this nation's educational system teaches kids to memorize, not think, and you see the problem.
  • by Zyklon B Location: The Voice on Aug 27, 2009 at 07:11 AM
    C'mon, give OK schools a break. They are training their students for their bright futures working in Indian casinos. Why do they need college?
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