Bexley News

Bexley City Schools

Graduates' preparation for college can be improved

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While data shows a number of high schools in Ohio have failed to prepare their graduates for college math and English courses, the Bexley City School District appears to be doing better than most.

In fact, it falls behind only one central Ohio school district in a 2013 Ohio Board of Regents report which analyzes the remediation rates of students going on to Ohio public colleges.

According to the data released this month, 20 percent of Bexley High School graduates entering Ohio public colleges were assigned to remedial math or English courses.

While some local private high schools had remediation rates as low as 12 percent, some central Ohio public school districts were near or above 50 percent. In Columbus City Schools, 67 percent of all high school graduates last year were assigned to remedial math or English upon entering Ohio public colleges. In South-Western City Schools, 56 percent of last year's graduates were required to take remedial math or English, with the same being true for 46 percent of Reynoldsburg graduates and 35 percent of those from Westerville.

But Bexley administrators say there is still work to be done.

"We are outperforming the norm, but obviously, we'd like lower than 20 percent," said Harley Williams, Bexley's principal of secondary schools.

Williams said Bexley's data reflects some changing demographics, and the 20 percent requiring remediation work in college includes special education students, students who may not have attended college in the past, and students who came late to Bexley schools and have not attended Bexley throughout their academic careers. Williams noted the majority of Bexley's special education students go on to college, which is not the case with some other districts.

According to Williams, in the past three years Bexley has specifically focused on first generation students, those who are the first in their families to attend college. This has resulted in more students attending college who might not have gone previously.

"We are creating an environment where students feel comfortable taking and are willing to take (college admissions tests like the ACT)," said Williams in his September 2013 report to Bexley's school board. An increase in ACT test taker numbers suggests that some are first generation students who consider themselves college-ready.

Additionally, Bexley is one district trying to make things easier for students by offering free practice ACT and SAT tests.

In 2013, 155 Bexley High School students were among some 93,000 Ohio students taking the ACT. That was an increase of 38 students from 2012.

Bexley has also been offering dual enrollment for the past two school years.

Through dual enrollment programs, high school students taking certain courses earn credit through Columbus State Community College. The option gives students a first taste of college while giving students something beyond AP courses.

Bexley has been recognized nationally for its efforts in preparing students for college. Bexley High School earned a gold medal top rating and the No. 2 ranking of all Ohio public high schools, according to a report by U.S. News and World Report published last year.

The Best High Schools analysis identifies the top public schools that prepare students for college success. Only 19 Ohio high schools received gold medals, and only Walnut Hills High School in the Cincinnati area outranked Bexley.

Bexley's district ranking nationwide was 120.

In addition, Bexley High School climbed in Newsweek magazine's 2013 "America's Best High Schools" list, released last year.

Bexley High School earned a ranking of 228 on the list, which highlights the best 2,500 public schools in the nation -- giving specific weight to those who best prepare their high school students for college.

Last year, 90 percent of all Bexley graduates went on to pursue a college degree.

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