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View Full Version : Education College Student lack of preparedness


HonestChieffan
03-17-2011, 09:47 AM
http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=1410&theme=home&loc=b


Another view of the sad state of education and how poorly prepared HS grads are.

NewChief
03-17-2011, 10:27 AM
As usual, you don't really get the whole picture. The reason the rates of remediation needed for college freshman are on the rise is because colleges are allowing more and more people (many of whom are largely unsuited for higher education) into school.

If they don't think they're prepared, I have a great idea for them: don't let them in.

Of course, they won't do that, because they want their money. College is a big business.

patteeu
03-17-2011, 10:29 AM
Of course, they won't do that, because they want their money. College is a big business.

This is the unintended legacy of widespread government funding of higher education, IMO.

HonestChieffan
03-17-2011, 10:30 AM
As usual, you don't really get the whole picture. The reason the rates of remediation needed for college freshman are on the rise is because colleges are allowing more and more people (many of whom are largely unsuited for higher education) into school.

If they don't think they're prepared, I have a great idea for them: don't let them in.

Of course, they won't do that, because they want their money. College is a big business.


The answer then is raise the requirements.....but the ones who cant get in will still be poorly educated.....I dont think thats a good solution.

BucEyedPea
03-17-2011, 02:26 PM
As usual, you don't really get the whole picture. The reason the rates of remediation needed for college freshman are on the rise is because colleges are allowing more and more people (many of whom are largely unsuited for higher education) into school.

If they don't think they're prepared, I have a great idea for them: don't let them in.

Of course, they won't do that, because they want their money. College is a big business.

This is very true. Just look at the level of drop outs from college too. It's quite a lot. With all the money available some just can't do the work despite the dumbing down going on in the colleges too. Some places are still selective though but even Harvard has suffered grade inflation.

banyon
03-17-2011, 06:45 PM
As usual, you don't really get the whole picture. The reason the rates of remediation needed for college freshman are on the rise is because colleges are allowing more and more people (many of whom are largely unsuited for higher education) into school.

If they don't think they're prepared, I have a great idea for them: don't let them in.

Of course, they won't do that, because they want their money. College is a big business.

This phenomenon has pretty much infiltrated graduate education and the law schools too. I don't know if it's entered med school yet.

banyon
03-17-2011, 06:46 PM
This is the unintended legacy of widespread government funding of higher education, IMO.

Couldn't it be fixed without throwing out the baby with the bathwater?

patteeu
03-17-2011, 06:59 PM
Couldn't it be fixed without throwing out the baby with the bathwater?

I don't know, maybe. Perhaps some kind of far less sweeping college assistance program that is merit based could work without having so many damaging effects (tuition inflation being the other major problem). Of course, it would mean that many kids would have no recourse other than saving their own funds if they want to go to school but don't have the grades/test scores.

If you provide money so that everyone can afford college, colleges are going to admit everyone so they can soak up that money. I don't see how you can continue with the same approach without having the same effect.

Barack Obama wants to make college even more universally accessible than it already is. What's likely to happen when even less qualified kids get passed on to colleges?

The Mad Crapper
03-17-2011, 07:15 PM
What's likely to happen when even less qualified kids get passed on to colleges?

You're witnessing it--- the idiot in the white house (banyon's sexpot).

banyon
03-17-2011, 07:18 PM
I don't know, maybe. Perhaps some kind of far less sweeping college assistance program that is merit based could work without having so many damaging effects (tuition inflation being the other major problem). Of course, it would mean that many kids would have no recourse other than saving their own funds if they want to go to school but don't have the grades/test scores.

If you provide money so that everyone can afford college, colleges are going to admit everyone so they can soak up that money. I don't see how you can continue with the same approach without having the same effect.

Barack Obama wants to make college even more universally accessible than it already is. What's likely to happen when even less qualified kids get passed on to colleges?

Why not just limit it per institution, you know, make it competitive? Maybe set a min. entry acceptance rate and maybe a max default.

We have increasing HS dropout rates, so I think Obama's goal is pie in the sky. We have more fundamental problems.

patteeu
03-17-2011, 07:22 PM
Why not just limit it per institution, you know, make it competitive? Maybe set a min. entry acceptance rate and maybe a max default.

We have increasing HS dropout rates, so I think Obama's goal is pie in the sky. We have more fundamental problems.

That's a better idea than the current plan. I'd be willing to give it a try. The part I don't like though, is that some government bureaucrat would have to set the limits and as a conservative I'm skeptical of that.

banyon
03-17-2011, 07:28 PM
That's a better idea than the current plan. I'd be willing to give it a try. The part I don't like though, is that some government bureaucrat would have to set the limits and as a conservative I'm skeptical of that.

Why does it have to be a bureaucrat? Why can't it be set by Congress?

BucEyedPea
03-17-2011, 10:08 PM
Congress set it? They're even bigger morons.

banyon
03-17-2011, 10:13 PM
Congress set it? They're even bigger morons.

I thought you had so much faith in our "republic" and elected representation?

Oh, wait that was the other thread.

Sorry, your fantasy-land of abolish public education is never going to happen. We were discussing practical possibilities.

alnorth
03-17-2011, 10:14 PM
As usual, you don't really get the whole picture. The reason the rates of remediation needed for college freshman are on the rise is because colleges are allowing more and more people (many of whom are largely unsuited for higher education) into school.

If they don't think they're prepared, I have a great idea for them: don't let them in.

Of course, they won't do that, because they want their money. College is a big business.

100% correct.

/thread

If someone is not ready for college or community college, don't admit them. If you aren't sure be ready to toss them after 1 semester so they don't borrow tons of money for classes they wont pass.

That will mean that some community colleges will have to close and some professors will lose their jobs, but college should not be a baby-sitting service. If you aren't ready for college, you should go into the workforce and bust your ass. If you get sick of that, and mature to the point where you are now ready to be a serious student, fine, you get another chance for at least another semester.

cdcox
03-17-2011, 10:43 PM
It's more complicated than just admission standards.

In our college, we've raised our admission requirements significantly over the last 7 or 8 years. Right now our average student is in the top 5% of their highschool class and top 10% nationally in math ACT. Even our worst student will score in the top 20% nationally in the math ACT and have a HS GPA above 3.5.

Every year, I expect to start seeing better students. But it just ain't so. Whatever gains we've achieved in basic skills, seems to have been offset by a decrease in the ability to think. Today's students seem to want to do step 1, step 2, step 3, get my A. Engineering doesn't work that way. You have to think through the problem and apply what you know in different ways. If anything, students seem to be less skilled than in the past in applying what they have learned in new contexts.

The other problem is that a lot of kids have poor motivation. That hasn't changed. These kids should go dig ditches for a year or two, grow up a little, then go to college when they are ready to apply themselves.

There are some good students. Just not as many as I would expect, given our entrance requirements.

I think our K-12 education process has gone off track. I think the problem goes way before HS.

BucEyedPea
03-17-2011, 11:18 PM
I think our K-12 education process has gone off track. I think the problem goes way before HS.

For once, I agree with you.

NewChief
03-18-2011, 05:18 AM
It's more complicated than just admission standards.

In our college, we've raised our admission requirements significantly over the last 7 or 8 years. Right now our average student is in the top 5% of their highschool class and top 10% nationally in math ACT. Even our worst student will score in the top 20% nationally in the math ACT and have a HS GPA above 3.5.

Every year, I expect to start seeing better students. But it just ain't so. Whatever gains we've achieved in basic skills, seems to have been offset by a decrease in the ability to think. Today's students seem to want to do step 1, step 2, step 3, get my A. Engineering doesn't work that way. You have to think through the problem and apply what you know in different ways. If anything, students seem to be less skilled than in the past in applying what they have learned in new contexts.


What you're describing is exactly, and I mean exactly, what the Chinese complain is a result of their standardized testing movement. They even have some word for being "test smart" but with no practical ability. It's no surprise that we're experiencing the same phenomenon as our educational system begins to emphasize standardized test scores over other measures of students growth.

Everyone in education should read Yong Zhao's Catching Up or Leading the Way (http://www.amazon.com/Catching-Leading-Way-Education-Globalization/dp/1416608737) and then read Daniel Pink's Whole New Mind (http://www.danpink.com/whole-new-mind). In our efforts to "reform" education, we're heading in the complete wrong direction. We definitely need educational reform, but we don't need to imitate China and India (which is what we seem hell bent on doing).

cdcox
03-18-2011, 08:10 AM
What you're describing is exactly, and I mean exactly, what the Chinese complain is a result of their standardized testing movement. They even have some word for being "test smart" but with no practical ability. It's no surprise that we're experiencing the same phenomenon as our educational system begins to emphasize standardized test scores over other measures of students growth.

Everyone in education should read Yong Zhao's Catching Up or Leading the Way (http://www.amazon.com/Catching-Leading-Way-Education-Globalization/dp/1416608737) and then read Daniel Pink's Whole New Mind (http://www.danpink.com/whole-new-mind). In our efforts to "reform" education, we're heading in the complete wrong direction. We definitely need educational reform, but we don't need to imitate China and India (which is what we seem hell bent on doing).

I agree completely. We see many students from Asia in our graduate programs that might come in with near perfect Math GRE scores. That is no guarantee they will make a good graduate student, especially when it comes to research. Something about American culture and education (at least the way it used to be done) nurtured creativity and critical thinking skills in young minds.

I think the Asian case and the US cases are different in one way though. In Asia, I think students spend enough time on academics, but they spend that time the wrong way. They end up beating the creativity out of their students by drilling them on basic skills to the exclusion of everything else.

In the US, we don't have enough contact time. Due to the increase emphasis on testing, time pressures focus teachers and schools to focus on skills. We are going to a mode of spoon feeding the kids and giving them grades based on their ability to follow a set of instructions instead of their true overall academic ability. I think US students need more contact time with their academic studies. Do the same basic skills instruction they are doing now, and supplement that with more integrative projects like I remember doing when I was a kid. In one junior high English class, we made issues of magazines, newspapers, and made mock TV broadcasts. Those were fun and allowed us to use our communication skills by combining written, graphic and oral forms. Some schools have competitions such as Odyssey of the Mind and Science Olympiad. These are great, but more kids need to be exposed to them. These kind of open-ended exercises need to be part of the core curriculum, not an extracurricular activity for only the nerdy smart kids. To fit all this in, students need to be in school more hours per day and more weeks out of the year. Another 20% contact hours would go a long way if it was focused on the right activities.

NewChief
03-18-2011, 08:12 AM
Do the same basic skills instruction they are doing now, and supplement that with more integrative projects like I remember doing when I was a kid. In one junior high English class, we made issues of magazines, newspapers, and made mock TV broadcasts. Those were fun and allowed us to use our communication skills by combining written, graphic and oral forms. Some schools have competitions such as Odyssey of the Mind and Science Olympiad. These are great, but more kids need to be exposed to them. These kind of open-ended exercises need to be part of the core curriculum, not an extracurricular activity for only the nerdy smart kids. To fit all this in, students need to be in school more hours per day and more weeks out of the year. Another 20% contact hours would go a long way if it was focused on the right activities.

The interesting thing is that this is hugely recognized and part of the new "common core" standards. There is a rigor/relevance framework that shoots for all learning to have some kind of "real world" relevant component to it. So that leads to project-based learning. The problem is that everyone agrees we should be doing this, but we're completely judged on the stupid tests. So the "cool creative" stuff gets set aside for boring ass, mind-numbing test prep.

cdcox
03-18-2011, 08:45 AM
The interesting thing is that this is hugely recognized and part of the new "common core" standards. There is a rigor/relevance framework that shoots for all learning to have some kind of "real world" relevant component to it. So that leads to project-based learning. The problem is that everyone agrees we should be doing this, but we're completely judged on the stupid tests. So the "cool creative" stuff gets set aside for boring ass, mind-numbing test prep.

My SIL is a 3rd grade teacher in Des Moines. She complains about "No Child Left Behind" and teaching to the test all the time. We need to do both skills teaching and integrative projects, and evaluate teachers on both.

patteeu
03-18-2011, 08:46 AM
I agree completely. We see many students from Asia in our graduate programs that might come in with near perfect Math GRE scores. That is no guarantee they will make a good graduate student, especially when it comes to research. Something about American culture and education (at least the way it used to be done) nurtured creativity and critical thinking skills in young minds.

I think the Asian case and the US cases are different in one way though. In Asia, I think students spend enough time on academics, but they spend that time the wrong way. They end up beating the creativity out of their students by drilling them on basic skills to the exclusion of everything else.

In the US, we don't have enough contact time. Due to the increase emphasis on testing, time pressures focus teachers and schools to focus on skills. We are going to a mode of spoon feeding the kids and giving them grades based on their ability to follow a set of instructions instead of their true overall academic ability. I think US students need more contact time with their academic studies. Do the same basic skills instruction they are doing now, and supplement that with more integrative projects like I remember doing when I was a kid. In one junior high English class, we made issues of magazines, newspapers, and made mock TV broadcasts. Those were fun and allowed us to use our communication skills by combining written, graphic and oral forms. Some schools have competitions such as Odyssey of the Mind and Science Olympiad. These are great, but more kids need to be exposed to them. These kind of open-ended exercises need to be part of the core curriculum, not an extracurricular activity for only the nerdy smart kids. To fit all this in, students need to be in school more hours per day and more weeks out of the year. Another 20% contact hours would go a long way if it was focused on the right activities.

Kotter's going to want a big raise for that. He's already being worked to death. :Poke: