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Monday, August 3, 2015

High Schools Aren't Preparing Students

Critics are claiming college isn’t getting students ready for the workforce. Perhaps the issue starts before students even get to campus.

A 2015 survey of students, faculty, and employers found that only 14% of the instructors felt high schools did an adequate job of preparing students for college, down from 28% in a 2004 survey. Just 29% of employers felt students were ready for the workplace in 2015, compared to 49% in 2004.

High schools are doing well at teaching computers and technology, teamwork, and verbal communications. Unfortunately, there appear to be major gaps in student preparation involving critical thinking, comprehension of complicated content, work and study habits, writing, problem-solving, conducting research, math, and science.

A bigger issue is that students indicated in the survey they understood there were problems with their high school education. Nearly 90% said they would have worked harder if expectations for earning a diploma were higher and 20% said it was “easy to slide by.”

“We know that our schools can do a better job of preparing students for success in their next steps,” Michael Cohen, president of the not-for-profit educational organization that sponsored the survey, said in a report in Campus Technology. “We hear students saying that they are certain they would have worked harder in high school if they’d been held to higher expectations. It’s critical that schools clearly communicate the expectations of colleges and employers early in a student’s high school experience and help them understand the coursework they will need to complete. When we set rigorous expectations, students can and will rise to the challenge.”

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