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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