Sliding through high school

Most high school students aren’t working very hard. From USA Today:

A majority of high school students in the USA spend three hours or less a week preparing for classes yet still manage to get good grades, according to a study being released today by researchers who surveyed more than 90,000 high school students in 26 states.

. . . Just 56% of students surveyed said they put a great deal of effort into schoolwork; only 43% said they work harder than they expected to. The study says 55% of students devote no more than three hours a week to class preparation, but 65% of these report getting A’s or B’s.

Students on the college track devoted the most time to preparation, but only 37% spent seven or more hours a week on schoolwork, compared with 22% of all high school students.

While 82 percent plan to go to college or other postsecondary training, many won’t be prepared to succeed.

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  1. Ray Trygstad says:

    Holy cow! They sure don’t go to the same high school as my kids; they might get by with three hours a night. Guess we’re just lucky.

  2. Tom West says:

    3 hours a night? Good grief. That kind homework load precludes any sort of extra curricular or social activities for any students who aren’t the hyper-organized-use-a-daily-planner type.

    Here’s hoping my kids are a little luckier (just not *too* much luckier…)

    Of course, maybe it prepares students for a lifetime of doing 60 hour weeks :-).

  3. In my district, it looks like it’s about to get easier to “slide”: we were informed at an inservice yesterday that kids will get half a high school grad. credit for passing only half of a full-year course! So, say you take chemistry, get Bs the first two quarters, then decide to “pack it in”: You finish with two Fs for the final two quarters. No worries — you still get half a credit for your “efforts” the first half of the year!

  4. For many students in high school, classes are simply not challenging enough. Many years ago (almost 20 now), I did not work hard at all in school. It was really not until my senior year in high school that I really worked hard. I always had homework, but it was not that challenging.

    I believe that in an age of “dumbing-down” of curiccula, many students remain unchallenged and therefore unprepared for the rigors of a real university education. In short, they have not learned how to study.

  5. Vivacesunshine says:

    Matt Johnston is right.
    I never did classwork outside of school in high school . . . 3 hours a week? Only if I had an exam in my AP History class, or had to write one of the infrequent papers for my English class. By junior year, I dropped all pretense of bringing home my books to study. The textbooks saw the inside of my house only four times that year. And grades-wise, I had the highest in my class.

    Why no preparation? I made a 100% in one of my high school classes. The teacher would hand out the instructor edition of the tests. That means that the correct multiple choice answer was bolded and if the true/false sentence was false, that part was italicized. I approached my teacher after the first exam and mentioned this to her. She just said I should enjoy my 100%s. Nobody else in the class believed me. Some people still failed that class.

    Learning how to study in college, now that’s hard. I’m not going to be graduating summa cum laude from college.

  6. What Matt said.

    One of the MOST valuable things I learned at my (private) high school was how to take notes in class, and that sometimes recopying those notes is necessary to really understand. And also that you should read over your notes for each class, ideally each day, so you can catch things you don’t understand.

    We were initiated into these “mysteries” as freshmen; we were pulled out of the Morning Meeting briefly once a week to go over these things. I still use (nearly 20 years after graduation) a lot of the tips and hints I got in that orientation course.

    I teach college now, and one question my colleagues and I regularly ask students who are failing our tests is “How long do you study before an exam?” Many of the students admit to only an hour or a half an hour of study – for a college exam!

    I think more high school students need to be initiated into the “mysteries” of study. Because it does seem like some kind of mystery to the ones who don’t know how.

  7. Vivacesunshine says:

    Ricki –
    It is a mystery! After four years, I’ve picked up the hang of it for most of my subjects, but I still don’t always “get” it.

  8. There is entirely too much pandering to the kind of lackluster students who are there to socialize first and learn second. They are not really stupid or lazy, just smug in their normalcy, and anti-intellectual at heart. This applies even to the management-bound “college track”.

  9. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Get the Z’s out of the way and let teachers teach X and Y’s.