College-Readiness Is Not One-Size-Fits-All

  • Wally B. Barnes Sam Houston State University
  • John R. Slate Sam Houston State University
Keywords: one-size-fits-all, college-readiness, career-readiness, literature review


The purpose of this article is to provide a critical analysis of the one-size-fits-all college-readiness agenda that now guides curriculum and expectations in our nation’s secondary schools.  Although President Obama, in 2010, emphasized the need for college- and career-readiness for all high school graduates, the emphasis is clearly on college-readiness, at the exclusion of other educational alternatives.  College- and career-readiness may be the mantra for the 21st century, but politicians and educational leaders tend to lean heavily on college-readiness when curricular requirements are increased and accountability measures become more stringent, which tends to anchor academic-preparedness.  In this article, educational policy reports, legislative acts, and scholarly journal articles were examined and discussed to illuminate the one-size-fits-all college-readiness agenda and explore the extent to which students should be college-ready.  In the review of recent college- and career-readiness literature, the indication is that, in all likelihood, the one-size-fits-all college-readiness agenda is a dichotomous variable rather than a continuum, which would allow students to make more informed decisions about college goals and career aspirations.