EL PASO, Texas (CBS4) — A new study says that students graduating from Texas’ top-rated schools aren’t prepared for college and are likely to need remedial coursework.
Hearst Newspapers analyzed the grades that the state gave to Texas schools this summer, specifically looking at schools that received an “A” or “B” rating.
In more than two-thirds of those schools, the study found a majority of students are not scoring high enough on the SAT or ACT to be considered “college ready.”
In the Borderland, 26 high schools received an “A” or “B” rating. Those schools are:
Jaskarine Palacios is a freshman at UTEP and graduated from a Borderland high school. “I didn’t feel like high school itself helped me prepare like how to organize my time,” she says.
Eric Hurtado is a sophomore at UTEP and also graduated from a Borderland high school. When reflecting over his freshman year, he says “It was pretty hard, because like, I had to get my homework done between classes because had to go to work right after school.”
The study says not being prepared for college could mean having to spend money on remedial classes that don’t count toward a degree.
Palacios saw evidence of that firsthand. “During orientation,” she says “friends were telling me that they were required to take remedials. Not only one, but a lot, like two or three.”
Eric Marinez is a UTEP graduate and says while he was prepared for college, he saw evidence of students dropping out, from his class size.
“You start off and it’s complete packed with 106 students,” he says “and then by the end of the semester you’re stuck with like 50.”
Texas education officials say Texas is steadily raising the bar for what students are expected to learn, and schools are improving, but education experts say otherwise.
Those experts say this study is proof that there is a flaw in the state’s new grading system.
They say lawmakers are placing too much emphasis on improving scores on the STAAR and graduation rates rather than preparing students for college.
Despite the reason, students agree they could’ve been more prepared. Martinez graduated in 2012 and says he still has peers at UTEP, six years later.
At a meeting earlier this week, some lawmakers argued to give more money to schools for each student who scores college-ready on the entrance exams.
Others argued to do away with the STAAR test and use the SAT or ACT to hold schools accountable.
The next Texas legislative session begins in January, and funding is a topic of discussion for that session.