Community College Bound Oregon High School Grads Reveal an Uncomfortable Truth in Oregon Education

75% of Oregon high school grads who go straight to community college must take remedial classes, indicating that the high school diploma they received is no indication they have achieved goals of a high school education.

This was reported by the Oregonian based on a study conducted at the direction of the US Department of Education; a study worth reading if you have a chance.

This study broke down this collective group (high school grads entering community college) into sub-groups, and among those there were additional findings that are of interest too.

These remedial classes are non-credit courses, and those who take them are less likely to complete their course of study. Courses of study can include one year certificates, two year Associates Degrees or transfer to four year institutions.

This is a bard door closed situation that shows just how little an Oregon high school diploma is worth. The damage is done but it is still ongoing.

The conclusions drawn by the The Oregonian reporter as well as the report are worthy in themselves, but also the reason for having this type of assessment speaks towards several uncomfortable truths.

The study itself draws a conclusion that the problem originates not in race or income but in academic preparedness.

  • Oregon K-12 authorities grant diplomas that have little academic value as they cannot  indicate competency
  • It is not possible to evaluate competency objectively except through uniform testing and comparison
  • Oregon K-12 authorities criticize attempts to reform and implement testing criteria rather than develop a strategy to fulfill competency based reforms

There are plenty of people in Oregon who have an opt out mentality when it comes to testing or measuring anything; they will always oppose any form of standardized testing including but not exclusively to education.

Remove the Opt Out types and what is left?

Teachers don’t want to take it all on the chin. Many also see uniform testing as a stepping stone towards performance based assessments (and performance based pay) for teachers. It isn’t a teacher’s responsibility to make sure students are attending class. You cannot even lay that responsibility entirely on school administration. Attendance and off school hours are entirely the responsibility of parents.

There are three chins that need to take the punch here, and all need to collectively be held accountable by the system – that means real penalties for non-compliance. How can all three be held accountable?

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