Defining Readiness for College: SUNY’s Expectations

A State University of New York (SUNY) task force recommends that, beginning as early as ninth or tenth grade, students “engage in a continuous authentic assessment experience that is maintained throughout their high school years; and create an assessment product [portfolios, narrative teacher assessments, self-evaluations, checklists of proficiencies, etc.] that could be taken with them to college and used there for academic planning and advisement.” (Single standardized test scores, the group notes, “cannot capture the range of knowledge and skills necessary for success in the freshman year.”) Though it outlines the skills and areas of knowledge students need to succeed at SUNY, it emphasizes they are “reference points,” not admissions standards, useful in the dialogue with secondary schools about reform and intended to “change students’ behaviors and enrich their learning.” It defined those entry-level requirements broadly as follows:


Entry-Level Skills

academic and personal support skills, such as understanding learning styles; planning, organizing, and setting priorities; using educational Resources and services; and accepting failure and success and learning from both.

  • information management skills, such as familiarity with library organization, knowledge of the categories into which information falls; ability to discriminate among sources of information, and computer literacy.
  • communication skills: reading; writing; listening and taking notes; speaking.
  • analytical skills: intellectual activities; problem solving.


Entry-Level Knowledge

  • humanities, arts, and foreign languages: Language arts; visual and performing arts; foreign languages and cultures
  • natural science, mathematics, and technical studies: basic dimensions of scientific, mathematical, and technological understanding; cultural and personal awareness of disciplines; crucial knowledge areas; the context of science; mathematical literacy.
  • social sciences and history: interrelationships; global issues; major issues of social science study of the U.S.; social science methods; history methods.

(SUNY Task Force Report on College Entry-Level Knowledge and Skills)