PDA

View Full Version : College kids lack skills? This report says so.


chagrin
01-19-2006, 02:09 PM
This doesn't suprise me, seeing how everyone seems to be more focused on how they look, what clothes they wear and what they drive rather than education.

story (http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2006-01-19-college-tasks_x.htm?csp=24)


WASHINGTON (AP) Nearing a diploma, most college students cannot handle many complex but common tasks, from understanding credit card offers to comparing the cost per ounce of food.
Those are the sobering findings of a study of literacy on college campuses, the first to target the skills of students as they approach the start of their careers.

More than 50% of students at four-year schools and more than 75% at two-year colleges lacked the skills to perform complex literacy tasks.

That means they could not interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school.

The results cut across three types of literacy: analyzing news stories and other prose, understanding documents and having math skills needed for checkbooks or restaurant tips.

"It is kind of disturbing that a lot of folks are graduating with a degree and they're not going to be able to do those things," said Stephane Baldi, the study's director at the American Institutes for Research, a behavioral and social science research organization.

Most students at community colleges and four-year schools showed intermediate skills, meaning they could perform moderately challenging tasks. Examples include identifying a location on a map, calculating the cost of ordering office supplies or consulting a reference guide to figure out which foods contain a particular vitamin.

There was brighter news.

Overall, the average literacy of college students is significantly higher than that of adults across the nation. Study leaders said that was encouraging but not surprising, given that the spectrum of adults includes those with much less education.

Also, compared with all adults with similar levels of education, college students had superior skills in searching and using information from texts and documents.

"But do they do well enough for a highly educated population? For a knowledge-based economy? The answer is no," said Joni Finney, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, an independent and non-partisan group.

"This sends a message that we should be monitoring this as a nation, and we don't do it," Finney said. "States have no idea about the knowledge and skills of their college graduates."

The survey examined college and university students nearing the end of their degree programs. The students did the worst on matters involving math, according to the study.

Almost 20% of students pursuing four-year degrees had only basic quantitative skills. For example, the students could not estimate if their car had enough gas to get to the service station. About 30% of two-year students had only basic math skills.

Baldi and Finney said the survey should be used as a tool. They hope state leaders, educators and university trustees will examine the rigor of courses required of all students.

The survey showed a strong relationship between analytic coursework and literacy. Students in two-year and four-year schools scored higher when they took classes that challenged them to apply theories to practical problems or weigh competing arguments.

The college survey used the same test as the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, the government's examination of English literacy among adults. The results of that study were released in December, showing about one in 20 adults is not literate in English.

On campus, the tests were given in 2003 to a representative sample of 1,827 students at public and private schools. The Pew Charitable Trusts funded the survey.

It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

ENDelt260
01-19-2006, 02:12 PM
comparing the cost per ounce of food.

Haha... I'll never forget the day my big bro explained our beer buying procedure in the Rolla Wal-Mart.... "No, no... we don't look at the whole price... look in this little yellow square in the corner... see that? Cost per ounce. Find the beer with the smallest number in that square. That's what we're drinking tonight."

jidar
01-19-2006, 02:13 PM
More like, most people simply aren't very bright and when you continually adjust your education system so that everybody who wants into college gets into college, you're going to end up with a bunch of people in college who aren't bright.

ENDelt260
01-19-2006, 02:13 PM
More like, most people simply aren't very bright and when you continually adjust your education system so that everybody who wants into college gets into college, you're going to end up with a bunch of people in college who aren't bright.
I agree with jarjar.

Seriously. He nailed it.

Cormac
01-19-2006, 02:14 PM
Yay. I understood the whole article....until this part

It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

:shrug:

;)

Garcia Bronco
01-19-2006, 02:15 PM
I think many go to college that would be better off at a trade school.

chagrin
01-19-2006, 02:29 PM
More like, most people simply aren't very bright and when you continually adjust your education system so that everybody who wants into college gets into college, you're going to end up with a bunch of people in college who aren't bright.

word

kepp
01-19-2006, 02:32 PM
More like, most people simply aren't very bright and when you continually adjust your education system so that everybody who wants into college gets into college, you're going to end up with a bunch of people in college who aren't bright.
Yep...similiar to the concept of "dumbing down" a junior high or high school's curriculum so no one gets "left behind."

ptlyon
01-19-2006, 02:36 PM
More like, most people simply aren't very bright and when you continually adjust your education system so that everybody who wants into college gets into college, you're going to end up with a bunch of people in college who aren't bright.

Buy 'em books, buy 'em books, and what do ya got?



A stupid kid and a room full of books.

KCChiefsMan
01-19-2006, 02:38 PM
a lot of these students are rich kids who expect everything handed to them, including grades. I'm sure there are a lot of students who have not had a job in their whole lives. I worked 40+ hours per week all through college, 100% financially independant. I guaruntee that my skills coming out of college are far above a lot of the current students who will graduate later on

Dunit35
01-19-2006, 03:38 PM
a lot of these students are rich kids who expect everything handed to them, including grades. I'm sure there are a lot of students who have not had a job in their whole lives. I worked 40+ hours per week all through college, 100% financially independant. I guaruntee that my skills coming out of college are far above a lot of the current students who will graduate later on

Great post KCChiefsMan. I know a lot of people in the dorms I live in and I can only think of one person that has a job. That would be me, my job sucks but without it I would probably have no money. In fact when my old roomate would run out of money, he would just call his parents and they would send him some. I dont think once, did it ever cross his mind to work alittle bit. His parents still do his checkbook.

Bob Dole
01-19-2006, 03:47 PM
I think many go to college that would be better off at a trade school.

Actually, in many cases it's getting increasingly difficult to distinguish college from trade school.

ENDelt260
01-19-2006, 04:01 PM
Actually, in many cases it's getting increasingly difficult to distinguish college from trade school.
They should just rename the "Art History Department" the "McDonald's Swing Manager Trade School" to lessen the confusion.

Hydrae
01-19-2006, 04:09 PM
My question though is, shouldn't these mostly be skills people should know coming out of HIGH SCHOOL? We are talking about things needed for ever day living and there are a lot of us out here that never went to college who can do this stuff. That doesn't mean I can earn as much money as the idiot who went to college for 4 years though even though my intelligence is evidently much higher.

Bearcat
01-19-2006, 04:10 PM
We have some of the brightest 4th graders in the world, but by the time they finish high school they're way behind.... then I saw something the other night saying we need competition within school districts, and some teachers were actually saying that wasn't the answer, because "competition isn't good for the children".... guess we could ask the KC school district if Plan A: Throwing lots of money into the district, worked out :banghead:

dj56dt58
01-19-2006, 04:11 PM
Can't understand articles in a newspaper? Must be reading JW's column..

Bob Dole
01-19-2006, 04:40 PM
My question though is, shouldn't these mostly be skills people should know coming out of HIGH SCHOOL? We are talking about things needed for ever day living and there are a lot of us out here that never went to college who can do this stuff. That doesn't mean I can earn as much money as the idiot who went to college for 4 years though even though my intelligence is evidently much higher.

Hush yo mouf.

We wouldn't want to risk setting the expectations so high that someone might fail to meet them and subsequently damage their self-esteem.

Skills and knowledge are over rated. What's most important is that we all feel good about ourselves.

Dunit35
01-19-2006, 09:16 PM
A high school grad can make more money than a college grad, but a lot of times its a lot harder of a job. Working in the oilfield and other jobs like that.

Chiefs Pantalones
01-19-2006, 09:35 PM
This is totally false. I am learning really hard math in college. Me + 2 girls = 3. Sexual Calculus.

Dunit35
01-19-2006, 09:36 PM
Yeah Im learning a lot in college too. I just learned last semester about STD's and even got to see pictures of them. That was some of the grossest pictures I have ever seen.

Cochise
01-19-2006, 09:39 PM
Can someone read this article to me? :shrug:

Chiefs Pantalones
01-19-2006, 09:46 PM
I think Gen eds are what should be taught in high school, then once you get to college, you can hit the ground running to get your BA/BS. Gen Eds in college are a waste of time, although...some still need them, because like some posters already mentioned, they let anyone into college anymore, kids that have the reading level of a first grader. I think that's great, if you wanna go, do it, but I think more than a few of the kids are doing it just for the experience, not for the education (like the girls, the drinking, etc.).

Hey, it's their money, heh.

KCChiefsMan
01-19-2006, 09:49 PM
Yeah Im learning a lot in college too. I just learned last semester about STD's and even got to see pictures of them. That was some of the grossest pictures I have ever seen.


try observing and digging through cadavers. I wasn't grossed out by it, but I smelled pretty rough after class was over. That was actually the most interesting class I've had though, our GA actually brought in a copperhead snake and threw it on the floor just to show off.......true story

Dunit35
01-19-2006, 09:51 PM
I think Gen eds are what should be taught in high school, then once you get to college, you can hit the ground running to get your BA/BS. Gen Eds in college are a waste of time, although...some still need them, because like some posters already mentioned, they let anyone into college anymore, kids that have the reading level of a first grader. I think that's great, if you wanna go, do it, but I think more than a few of the kids are doing it just for the experience, not for the education (like the girls, the drinking, etc.).

Hey, it's their money, heh.

Well I had 21 college credit hours when I went into college. English comp 1 and 2. Introduction to literature, general physcology, and a computer class. Some of my friends had 30-40 hours before going to school. Some of the classes they make people take in college for their Gen Eds are kind of stupid. I went to college after personally realizing I did not want to work at a pizza restaurant for the rest of my life.

Chiefs Pantalones
01-19-2006, 10:01 PM
Well I had 21 college credit hours when I went into college. English comp 1 and 2. Introduction to literature, general physcology, and a computer class. Some of my friends had 30-40 hours before going to school. Some of the classes they make people take in college for their Gen Eds are kind of stupid. I went to college after personally realizing I did not want to work at a pizza restaurant for the rest of my life.

I think that's great that they are now doing that more (offering college courses in high school to take). You'll know in high school whether that kid is really determined to go on to the next level. Although, there are different stories. Some kids don't do well in high school because they are simply bored. My cousin is smart but didn't do well in high school because he knew it all. Sounds dumb, yes, but he flew threw college like it was nothing.

alanm
01-19-2006, 10:02 PM
I think many go to college that would be better off at a trade school.Not to mention they'd probably end up earning more money as a adult.
:)

Rausch
01-19-2006, 10:07 PM
I went to college after personally realizing I did not want to work at a pizza restaurant for the rest of my life.

Sounds familar...

Demonpenz
01-19-2006, 10:23 PM
so you work in a cubicle that is MUCH better :)

ChiefFripp
01-19-2006, 10:49 PM
A college education is just a status symbol to most people, so does this really matter? Working class kids who like to actually pick up a book on their own ,without some silly grade as an incentive, seem to be the brightest people I meet by and large. Most college kids just seem like over- privileged asshats to me.

jspchief
01-19-2006, 10:52 PM
I think many go to college that would be better off at a trade school.Trade school is a dirty word. No parent wants their kid to grow up and actually have to work for a living.

Lucky for a lot of industries, there's a constant influx of Mexican and other immigrant labor to fill the jobs that Americans think they're to good for.

FAX
01-19-2006, 10:55 PM
I have hired a fairly significant number of young college graduates over the years and I am always impressed with how much they think they know.

FAX

Dunit35
01-19-2006, 10:59 PM
I think that's great that they are now doing that more (offering college courses in high school to take). You'll know in high school whether that kid is really determined to go on to the next level. Although, there are different stories. Some kids don't do well in high school because they are simply bored. My cousin is smart but didn't do well in high school because he knew it all. Sounds dumb, yes, but he flew threw college like it was nothing.


I know many people here that are taking college classes their freshman year that I took my senior year in high school. It took me a semester to get my status changed from freshman to sophmore. I am glad I took those classes in high school and plus, many times those classes are easier to take in high school.

cdcox
01-19-2006, 11:04 PM
I think many go to college that would be better off at a trade school.

Heh, one of the grad students I work with taught at a trade school last fall in order to get some teaching experience. Turns out the trade school was more expensive than a university degree. Most of his students had disasterous personal lives and were going to end up with a ton of debt to land a 35K per year job. It wasn't that they lacked the ability to do well, they just repeatedly made bad decisions in life. With a better personal situation and a crumb of motivation, these same people could be graduating with less debt, an engineering degree, and on their way to a 55K per year starting salary. It's really kind of sad.

Mr. Kotter
01-19-2006, 11:05 PM
I have hired a fairly significant number of young college graduates over the years and I am always impressed with how much they think they know.

FAX

You hired any teachers of high school kids who became frustrated with how much kids think they know, but don't.... :hmmm:

greg63
01-20-2006, 12:57 AM
I think college instructors are not much brighter then the students they teach. A college education, now-a-days, is much overrated. IMO

I have a BFA; that along with $1.50 will get me a cup of coffee somewhere.