STEM college students feel unprepared

Only one in five STEM college students said their K–12 education prepared them extremely well for their college courses in science, math and engineering, according to a Microsoft survey.

About Joanne


  1. I’m glad I took my blood pressure meds this morning. The shock of surprise would have killed me.

  2. Of course, they’re unprepared. K-12 schools have been diluting the curriculum for years; flawed curricula like Everyday Math and balanced literacy, failure to teach grammar and composition, failure to insist on mastery (of anything) before advancement, inflated grading and heterogeneous classes. Kids who need extra help and time don’t get it, the top kids are ignored (or worse, turned into “peer tutors”) and the middle is held to the rate of the least prepared. Kids who would be able to do the coursework to enable future STEM careers don’t get it because the focus is on getting the low-achieving kids to pass the (usually ridiculous) state testing (in many states, preceeding NCLB). Heterogeneous ES-MS classes and college-prep-for-all (even AP for all) means that the capable kids don’t get challenging classes because of the pressure to pass everyone. I read recently that South Dakota is now requiring chemistry and physics for HS graduation; does anyone really think that all students are capable of/prepared for real chem and physics? In small schools (the majority of schools in the state), there’s no possibility of offering two sections so the only thing offered will be “about chem” and “about physics”. Those kids who could do the real classes and who might then consider STEM fields won’t have the background for college-level classes. The bigger schools will have two sections; the real thing and the imitation.

    • Actually, schools do insist on “mastery”. But it’s a little like me insisting that you make sure that your grandparents at the nursing home run a respectable marathon under pain of unemployment. You’ll eventually redefine “marathon” as “making it to the bathroom without injury”. If you don’t you’ll be replaced by someone who will. The new definition of marathon will be treated as though no redefinition ever took place.