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Most State High School Exit Exams Do Not Measure College Readiness

We’ve known for a while that a high school diploma does not necessarily mean that a student is prepared for success in college. A new study by the Center on Education Policy indicates that state high school exit exams don’t either.

  • Twenty-six states have exit exams or will soon have them in place.
  • Sixty-five percent of high school students must pass an exit exam to graduate.
  • Only six states (of the 26) report that their own exams measure the skills necessary for college.
  • Only nine (of the 26) measure skills needed for success in the workplace.

If these things are true, then parents (and voters!) should consider the following:

  1. State or district superintendents of education who swear that a high school diploma is the gateway to success in college are either delusional or dishonest.
    More and more young people—thinking they are well prepared—may attempt higher education, and find that either a) they must take remedial courses just to be able to do college level work, or b) they will flunk out (or more likely simply drop out) because they cannot keep up with better-prepared peers.

While I pride myself on being helping kids get into college, I harbor no delusions that college is for everyone. I nearly always discuss alternatives to higher education with my clients; for the ticket to financial success and a satisfying human existence is not dependent on acquiring a college education. While statistics indicate that a college diploma increases earning potential, I never treat an individual student as a statistic. With the right game plan, a high school graduate who does not go to college may easily out-earn another who goes to the Ivy League.

I specialize in helping individuals map out the plan that suits them best, and that provides them with the greatest level of satisfaction and success.

And yes, I’ll work with under-prepared students who want to go to college. Just because a student did not experience success in high school does not mean that they cannot or will not be successful in college. It’s all in creating the right road map, tailored to the abilities, interests, and aspirations of the individual student.

Mark Montgomery
Montgomery Educational Consulting

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