High Failure Rates On Entrance Exams

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Issues related to the early discrepancy in student preparation came from a lack of codified secondary education in the nineteenth century when students were taught at home or by tutors and the fact that universities had vastly different opinions on what would be considered college ready. High failure rates on entrance exams could have been an artifact of the test design or for a way of the faculty to try and keep students out of the university. There was little consensus on what the students should know and what the students should have read and be versed in (Brubacher and Rudy 1976). Also, for all the failed students, the universities rarely enforced their entrance requirements and were generally lax in their application. There were…show more content…
Even through the early 20th century, the admissions at prestigious universities like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton had nearly half of the students failing their college entrance exam (Brubacher & Rudy, 1997). To this day, over 80% of universities offer developmental course in some form even though they have high enough entrance requirements where they should not be necessary.
Terminology – A Horse of a Different Color
The terms used to describe underprepared students has changed over the years, but still are used interchangeably. Remedial is the older term that generally refers to a program of study that is designed to correct a specific deficiency in a student’s academic profile. In the 1970’s, the term “developmental” began to be used by practitioners because it encompassed a more positive view of the total development of the student (Arendale 2005 p.72). Today most practitioners prefer the term developmental because it more accurately projects what the goals are for the students and does not have the same negative connotations of the students being deficient. Interestingly, the term remedial has long carried a negative connotation. Wyatt (1992) recounts the fact that in 1938 Harvard changed the name of its “Remedial Reading” course to “The Reading Class” and the enrollment went from 30 to 400 annually. The terms used to describe things do matter in the perceptions of those who are taking them and those who are paying for them. Remediation is still used by
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