My blog discusses the important and complex subjects of college completion, college success, student risk factors (for failing), college readiness, and academic preparation. I will explore the pieces of the college puzzle that heavily influence, if not determine, college success rates.
Declining Students Could Cause Decline in Academic Standards
The New York Times ran a front-page story on March 9 emphasizing 2008 was the peak year for the number of high school seniors. After 2008 many states will experience a sharp decline in potential college attendees. As usual, the Times focused on the impact upon the highly-selective colleges that include only 5% of college enrollment.
But the impact upon broad access 4 year colleges that admit all qualified applicants is more important. These colleges comprise a majority of all 4 year enrollment. Many will be desperate to fill their classes and consequently will lower their de facto minimum admission standards. This will send signals to high school students that they do not need to study for high grades or take challenging college prep courses. Students will realize admissions are getting easier, and college remediation will expand.
These trends mean that postsecondary education needs to stress that rigorous academic courses in secondary school aid college success and completion. Starting in a remedial track lessens the chances of college completion. The midwest and mid-Atlantic states will experience the most grade 12 student decline.