Just a few things that flew by today (w/ links and excerpts, emphasis added)…
Through the EducationNews.org newsletter, a link to an interview with Will Fitzhugh:
Will, why should principals, administrators and school boards be paying a lot more attention to the actual amount and quality of academic work that is being required of students in the schools?
WF: My concern about the decline in the amount of work being asked of students in history grew after The Concord Review Study of the assignment of history term papers in 2002. We found that the majority of high school teachers no longer assign the traditional research paper in history classes. This month, The Boston Globe reported that 37% of high school graduates in Massachusetts state colleges are not ready for college work, including reading and writing. The College Board's Commission on Writing found a few years ago that the member companies of the Business Roundtable estimate they spend more than $3 Billion each year on remedial writing courses for their salaried and hourly employees in about equal numbers. I concluded that high school graduates are having trouble with writing because they aren't doing much actual academic expository writing in school.
First page on a Google scan, link info from 2007:
College Affordability Is Only Part of the Solution
As tuition costs skyrocket, elected officials have begun offering plans to make college more affordable for high school graduates. But better affordability without better preparation will not solve the bigger challenge—making a college degree more attainable to more Americans. America’s college completion rates are deplorably low.
■ Only about half of students who enroll in 4-year colleges after high school manage to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years.1
■ College going is increasing, but college completion is not keeping up. From 1975 to 2001, college going increased 14 percent, but college completion remained at nearly the same level as the early 1970s.2
■ Out of 24 countries, the U.S. was one of only two that showed no increase in bachelor’s
degree attainment between 2000 and 2004.3
Poor preparation is the problem.
■ Many college freshmen have to take remedial classes to learn what they should have learned in high school. Nearly one-third of college freshman enroll in at least one remedial course, a figure that rises to 42 percent in the nation’s community colleges, which educate a rapidly growing number of America’s undergraduates.4 In some states, the problem is even worse:
Same scan, same page:
The Remediation Debate
Are we serving the needs of underprepared college students?
Only one-third of students leave high school at least minimally prepared for college, and the proportion is much smaller for black and Hispanic students. Among those who persevere to college, 35 to 40 percent require remedial courses in reading, writing or mathematics. The courses are intended to address academic deficiencies and to prepare students for subsequent college success.