A recent study found that only 1 in 4 Oregon high school students is ready for college. The study, conducted by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research defines college readiness as:
- graduation from high school
- completion of coursework required by four-year colleges, and
- adequate performance on a federal reading test.
Nationally, 32% of students reach this bar. In Oregon the rate is 25%.
Part of the problem is that Oregon graduation requirements do not align with Oregon college admission standards:
| Oregon High School Graduation Requirements
|| Oregon College Admission
| English – 3 years
|| English – 4 years
| Mathematics – 2 years
|| Mathematics – 3 years
| Science – 2 years
|| Science – 2 years
| Social Studies – 3 years
Another area of weakness is the percent of students doing rigorous course work during high school. Research shows that students who take rigorous high school courses are better prepared for the demands of college and more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree. Oregon ranks well below the national average of students taking upper-level math courses (such as geometry, algebra or trigonometry), upper-level science courses (such as chemistry or physics), and Advanced Placement courses.
When they are not adequately prepared for college, students require remedial courses to make up for what they did not learn in high school. Research shows that the more remedial classes students need, the lower their odds are of ever completing college. Eleven percent of Oregon University System freshmen and 35% of first-year community college students require at least one remedial course. Only 50% of Oregon university students and 18% of community college students attain their intended degree 6 years after enrolling. This puts young Oregonians at serious risk given the economic future of the state. Of the 10 fastest growing jobs in Oregon, 6 require postsecondary education. And demand for highly skilled workers will continue to increase in the coming decades.