Thursday, August 18, 2005

it's no wonder my students couldn't handle the course

The New York Times reported yesterday that many going to college are not ready, according to the ACT.
"Only about half of this year's high school graduates have the reading skills they need to succeed in college, and even fewer are prepared for college-level science and math courses, according to a yearly report from ACT, which produces one of the nation's leading college admissions tests. ...

"ACT sets its college-readiness benchmarks - including the reading comprehension benchmark, which is new this year - by correlating earlier students' ACT scores with grades they actually received as college freshmen. Based on that data, the benchmarks indicate the skill level at which a student has a 70 percent likelihood of earning a C or better, and a 50 percent chance of earning a B or better.

"Among those who took the 2005 test, only 51 percent achieved the benchmark in reading, 26 percent in science, and 41 percent in math; the figure for English was 68 percent."
ACT attributes the abyssmal college readiness figures on the decline in students who take a college preparatory curriculum (4 y of English, 3 y of math, science, and social science). Yet we, the American public, continue to perpetuate the myth that the goal of every high school student should be to go to college. If they are going to go to college, then they ought to at least prepare adequately in high school, which obviously isn't happening. Then when these unprepared students arrive at college, they complain that the classes are too hard and the work-load is too much. The end result is a watered-down college education, and a college diploma that means very little, and doesn't give anyone an advantage in the job market. But isn't that why we encourage people to go to college in the first place?

1 comment:

gene-ie said...

Sadly, those results don't suprise me. I think you hit the nail on the head there regarding college education. It really does seem to be less and less valued, and more and more expected. It's frustrating to sound like such an old crumudgen before hitting my third decade, but people need to learn that education is about more than just letters behind your name. Grading issues are a big part of the educational slide too, in my opinion - an 'A' doesn't mean anything if everyone gets it. It just seems like students nowadays feel entitled to it, though. In fact, they seem to feel entitled to a lot of things. It sounds like you came across that during your class, even.