Teachers don’t know how students do in college

Only 31 percent of high school teachers think their school’s graduates are ready for college, reports the Deloitte 2010 Education Survey. But 68 percent of current college students say they were “prepared” or “very prepared” for college coursework.  Still, in their second year of college or beyond, as many as 28 percent were taking remedial courses.

Only 13 percent of high school teachers receive any information from official sources on how well their school’s graduates do in college: 92 percent say they don’t have the data they need to understand students’ college-preparation needs. If more information was available, 83 percent of teachers said they would use it to improve subject matter, and 78 percent would use it to plan coursework.

Many high school graduates go to nearby community colleges and state universities. It shouldn’t be that hard for school districts to find out how their students are doing. If B students end up in remedial classes, for instance, there’s a problem. What writing skills or history knowledge would college professors like to see in their students?

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  1. The press and American society believe public schools are “in terrible shape,” yet 75% of parents are very satisfied with their kids’ schools and 85% of Americans are happy with their own education. Thus, there is a disconnect.

    I’m not surprised that 2/3 of students feel well prepared for college, as statistics show that’s how many will actually finish their degree. Thus, we could conclude that many kids shouldn’t have gone to college anyway, thought they were pushed to bachelor’s degree programs when trade schools or associate programs were a better choice.

    It’s reasonable that students might be prepared, even if they end up in remedial courses. They may not have taken the specific writing or math or science classes for a couple years, and then they discover a general ed requirement for algebra – a class they hadn’t taken since their sophomore year of high school.

    Countless variations of this theme occur at the higher ed level.

  2. Not for Attribution says:

    The reason that 68% think that they are “prepared” for college course work is that we take pity on them and require very, very little. While we who grade the college papers probably don’t face the same pressures that high school teachers do not to fail the entire class, we do face pressure, and we give B’s to crap that would have gotten me a C- in high school.

  3. Unacceptably low expectations for student effort, and behavior, start in kindergarten and continue through k-12, if not further.

    Unfortunately, the old practice of deliberately flunking out 1/3 of the college freshman class has been abandoned. That practice was before the days of remedial classes, also. It meant that kids who weren’t prepared or were unwilling to work didn’t last beyond freshman year, in most schools. Regrettably, ed schools were different, even in the 60s. I knew many kids (mostly el ed but some secondary) who were able to go out 5 nights a week and remain on the Dean’s List.

  4. Do teachers even have a right to know? We’re talking about the private lives of other adults, after they get out of high school. At what point are we going to “cut the cord” and tell them they’re on their own? Age 25? Age 30?