The irrelevance of readiness: Everyone deserves a chance

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I’m not going to lie … things are temperately less exciting around here during the summer. A walk across campus that usually brings you into contact with flip-flopped and sneakered critters scurrying off to class or the caf now just brings you in contact with feathery and furry critters scurrying off to protect their nests or avoid close proximity with humans. Don’t get me wrong, green grass and squirrels keep the campus inviting throughout the summer months, but the activity of students is really why we’re here.

And as we prepare for a new group of students to alight upon campus, it appears that the trying task of teaching may become more taxing … in Texas, anyway. An article published earlier this week by the Texas Tribune —  a nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans about public policy and politics (at least that’s what their website says) – states that statistics show college readiness for students coming out of high school has dropped significantly.

But what about all those wonderful standardized tests that prove our student know how to take wonderful standardized tests?

Well … It’s not quite what it sounds like. You see, some of those wonderful standardized tests that prove that our students know how to take wonderful standardized tests, or no longer required by law in order for students to graduate high school. In a nutshell, students aren’t taking the test, so they don’t get that nice little indicator by their names in student databases showing that they are “college ready.” It’s just a matter of labeling. As AVB once asked, “What’s Your Tag Say?”

How’s that for an irrelevantly obscure reference?

However, the ponderance of collegiate readiness does bring up an interesting question: What happens to students who want to go to college, but may not be ready?

At Wayland, some of our best students have been those who weren’t necessarily “college ready.” They have proven to be students who are committed to the university and their education, and are appreciative for the opportunities they have. The academic achievement program gives students a helping hand to propel them to readiness. Students who struggle with certain academic concepts or subjects can take these courses, strengthening their foundations and preparing them for the rigors of collegiate academics.

This program has been incredibly successful. In recent years, graduation rates for students who started in the academic achievement program were higher than for students who didn’t. In short, students who weren’t “college ready” had a statistically greater chance of graduating than those whose “readiness” was based on the unequivocal dot pattern of a scantron.

Needless to say, if you want to go to college, you deserve that chance. Don’t be afraid to take those extra courses that can help you succeed. It has proven to be well worth the time.

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JONATHAN PETTY holds degrees in communications and management and currently serves as the director of communications for Wayland Baptist University.