Well over half of U.S. students graduating from high school have expectations of going on to college. Many of these students are grossly under-prepared to meet college standards.

An 8/18/2010 Wall Street Journal article available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703824304575435831555726858.html?KEYWORDS=high+school indicates:

New data show that fewer than 25% of 2010 graduates who took the ACT college-entrance exam possessed the academic skills necessary to pass entry-level courses, despite modest gains in college-readiness among U.S high-school students in the last few years.

How can it be that so many college-oriented students take and pass high school courses that they are led to believe are preparing them for college, and yet are not prepared for college? Who is to blame, and what can be done to significantly improve this disastrous situation?

My feeling is that we are doing our students a terrible disservice. We should be making a considerably greater effort to help students understand the quality of precollege education  they are obtaining, and how well it is preparing them for likely futures they will encounter in their first few years after leaving high school.

You have probably heard about the idea of authentic assessment and of the curriculum content and teaching processes that are aligned with the authentic assessment. What I feel is missing in such discussions is providing students with good aids to self assessment. Such aids include instruction in self assessment, materials to use in self assessment, and routine practice in self assessment. Every student should learn to take increased responsibility for their own education and the progress they are making in their informal and formal educational endeavors.

What You Can Do

Spend a bit of time reflecting on what you have just read. How does it fit in with your current knowledge, beliefs, and activities? How can you make use of the information to help improve our informal and formal educational systems? Who do you know that might benefit from reading this IAE Blog entry?

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Suggested Readings from IAE and Other Publications

Assessing our schooling system. See http://i-a-e.org/newsletters/IAE-Newsletter-2010-54.html.

Being increasingly responsible for your own education. See http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/being-increasingly-responsible-for-your-own-education.html.

Changing the world of education by failing more students. See http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/changing-the-world-of-education.html

Creating academic standards that that may be inappropriate and unattainable. See http://i-a-e.org/myblog-admin/creating-academic-standards-that-that-may-be-inappropriate-and-unattainable.html.

Self assessment. See http://iae-pedia.org/Self_Assessment.

Self-assessment instruments. See http://iae-pedia.org/Self-assessment_Instruments.

Student and adult desires for instant gratification and extrinsic motivation are significant roadblocks to improving education. See http://i-a-e.org/newsletters/IAE-Newsletter-2009-24.html.

Student assessment in the science and non-science of science and non-science courses. See http://i-a-e.org/myblog-admin/student-assessment-in-the-science-and-non-science-of-science-and-non-science-courses.html.

Test anxiety and use of non-test methods to measure learning. See http://i-a-e.org/myblog-admin/test-anxiety-and-use-of-non-test-methods-to-measure-learning.html.