Local College Educator Says Many Students Going to College Unprepared

Miami Dade College has an extensive program to put its students on the path to a college degree

With eight campuses and more than 175,00 students, Miami Dade College accepts all who apply, and 72 percent of them need developmental, or remedial classes to get up to speed for college work.

"We've actually seen at the college for several years now that many of our students are coming to us unprepared," said Dr. Lenore Radicio, Miami Dade College's vice provost for student achievement.

The College Board, the company that gives the SAT test, has noticed the same thing, issuing an alarming report: only 43 percent of SAT takers in the class of 2013 are prepared for college level work, that number hasn't changed in five years. The benchmark score to have a 65 percent chance of earning a "B" average in college is 1550.

"I think part of the issue is that for many years now, we've seen a misalignment between the high school curriculum and the college curriculum, the high school degree does not necessarily translate into a degree that says the students are college ready," said Radicio.

Consider Marcus Jerkins, who is in his third year at the college after graduating from Miami Northwestern High School.

"I was taking AP classes, honors classes, so coming into college I thought I would automatically go to my college courses," said Jerkins.

He said he was suprised that when he had to take remedial algebra in his freshman year.

Paul Puleo, a student who graduated from Coral Gables High, felt the same way.

"I mean, I was surprised that I had to take remedial," said Puleo.

But Jorgi Garlyn from South Broward High says her lack of math skill was no shock.

"No, not at all, I don't think high school prepares its students for college at all because it places people who don't want to learn with people who do want to learn and the environment doesn't mesh together well," Garlyn said.

She says half the time, there was so much chaos in the classroom, she couldn't hear the teacher in high school.

Miami Dade College has an extensive program to put its students on the path to a college degree.

"And we're very proud of the success of our students, it's really about helping them achieve the potential that they have academically, for most of the kids, this is their only hope for a college degree," said Radicio.

Radicio points out that two-thirds of MDC graduates started their college careers in developmental classes, and the vast majority of them, she says, needed help in mathematics.

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