by Max Brantley
It is setting admission standards pegged to standardized test scores and will refer applicants who don't meet the minimums first to remedial education programs rather than to developmental courses within the college. More to develop on this in days ahead, but here's the college release, which indicates leadership by new president Margaret Ellibee in the decision, which is estimated to affect some 400 students:
Pulaski Technical College on Monday adopted new admission standards that establish minimum test score requirements for new students beginning in fall 2013.
The revised admissions policy sets minimum reading scores that students must achieve on one of three common college admissions tests. Those reading scores are a 13 on the ACT, a 62 on the COMPASS, or a 35 on the ASSET test.
The college’s Board of Trustees approved the plan Monday. The reading score minimums are part of a “prepared learner” initiative designed to help students succeed in college.
Pulaski Tech has been an open enrollment school, meaning any student with a high school diploma or GED diploma could attend. Students who score proficiently on college entrance exams have been admitted unconditionally and placed directly in for-credit college courses. Students with lower scores in reading, writing or math have been placed in non-credit developmental education classes to increase their skills in those areas before they advance to college-level courses.
Enrollment trends show that 9 out of 10 new Pulaski Tech students need one or more developmental courses to refresh their skills and become academically prepared for college-level coursework.
Beginning in fall 2013, students who score below the reading minimums will be referred for reading assistance at area adult education centers. Those students will be encouraged to reapply for college admission after improving their academic skills. Based on past college admission applications, about 400 students could be impacted by the new process.
“Students who are not reading proficiently — at the college level - experience real challenges succeeding in their course work,” said Dr. Margaret Ellibee, college president. “With this new process, we believe we can better prepare our students for the rigors of college learning. Reading proficiency prepares our students to be lifelong learners and contributes to their success as students, being good employees, and contributing community members.”
College data shows that students with low reading scores increasingly drop out after their second semester. “We envision that this process will help to support and focus our incoming students on the skills they need to develop in order to obtain a PTC certificate and/or degree,” Dr. Ellibee said. “Our emphasis is on ensuring students come to class prepared to learn in the quality academic programs at Pulaski Technical College.”
PTC is a comprehensive, two-year college that serves the educational needs of central Arkansas through more than 76 occupational/technical degree and certificate programs, a university-transfer curriculum and specialized programs for business and industry.
The college’s mission is to provide access to high quality education that promotes student learning, to enable individuals to develop to their fullest potential and to support the economic development of the state.