Are students being prepared for college?

December 10, 2008 4:26:36 PM PST
There is an alarming report about the nation's schools that says most eighth-grade students will not be ready, academically, for college. And it might too late for them to get ready. "We've done very well," Casimir Pulaski school principal Steven Murphy said. "We have met our expectations here and exceeded them."

Eighth graders the school in Yonkers are confident that they are prepared for the future.

"The exams are really rigorous, and I feel like I'm getting really good experience here," student Loreli Mojica said.

Pulaski is a pre-K through eighth grade school.

"We really keep it consistent, and the standards and expectations from elementary school are the same when they get up here," English language arts teacher Mary O'Toole said.

But this school is apparently the exception. The new study shows that more than 80 percent of eighth graders, nationwide, are not on track to do college work, or to be prepared for the careers that would follow college.

The study measured English, math, reading and science skills of the same students in eighth grade and again in 12th grade. Results showed that eighth-grade academic achievement is the best predictor of college readiness, and it suggests that if eighth graders are not on track, the impact may be "nearly irreversible." But we're told that at Pulaski, the students have ownership of what they learn.

"It's exactly like being in college," math teacher Bryan Kreps said. "They have to think for themselves, work collaboratively with other students and come up with their own ideas, and then we prove it."

"They're responsible for all their classes, their books, their lockers," parent Eilish Robinson said. "They're very on top of them."

The pre-K students wore T-shirts Wednesday indicating they are the college graduating class of 2022.

"This environment provides them a slower transition," parent Sara Humphreys said. "An opportunity to learn the organizational skills, the time management skills that they're going to need to not only be successful in high school, but then again, once they get to college."

The ACT report makes recommendations similar to what happens at Pulaski, plus more funding for middle and high school intervention.

The executive summary of the full report can be found at

The full report is online at

The press release can be found at


STORY BY: Education reporter Art McFarland


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