Posts tagged ‘college readiness’

November 13, 2012

College only pays off for ‘individuals who are bright and motivated’

by Grace

A college degree is not a worthwhile investment for everyone, but it can pay off for the right kinds of students.

James Heckman, the Nobel Prize–winning economist, has examined how the returns on education break down for individuals with different backgrounds and levels of ability. “Even with these high prices, you’re still finding a high return for individuals who are bright and motivated,” he says. On the other hand, “if you’re not college ready, then the answer is no, it’s not worth it.” Experts tend to agree that for the average student, college is still worth it today, but they also agree that the rapid increase in price is eating up more and more of the potential return. For borderline students, tuition hikes can push those returns into negative territory.

If college only pays off for ‘individuals who are bright and motivated’, should we establish better standards to make sure that taxpayer funds only be spent on students who have a good chance of generating a good return on investment?  Instead of “bright and motivated” I would prefer to describe these students as “prepared and motivated”, although it’s also true that a minimum level of ability is probably needed for most college-level work.  In any case, poorly motivated high school graduates who are unprepared for the rigors of college work should not be wasting taxpayer money taking remedial college classes.  These students are squandering both money and time, and run a high risk of graduating with student loan debt but with no degree to show for their efforts   If anything, these “borderline” students would be better served by other types of assistance that would help them along on an alternative path to a self-sustaining job.

* James Heckman has studied the economics of investing in early childhood education.

July 25, 2012

Quick takes – CEOs with liberal arts degrees, too many college students not ‘college ready’, & more

by Grace

—  Famous CEOs Who Were Liberal Arts Majors


—   Colleges admit many students who are not “college ready”.  Yeah, we knew that.

2.2 million freshmen started college in the United States last fall, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But if common trends are anything go by, more than a third of them will not have a diploma at the end of it, if indeed, they finish college at all, writes Jenna Ashley Robinson at the Pope Center.

The ACT and the College Board (which administers the SAT) have created benchmarks that offer very clear guidelines for determining whether students are likely to succeed in college and have found that fewer than half of college-bound seniors are prepared for the work ahead of them….

“Sending unprepared students to college only sets them up for failure.”


—  Girls Report Higher Math Anxiety Than Boys, Study Finds (Education Week)

New research from England finds that girls show higher levels of mathematics anxiety than boys, and that this distress is related to diminished performance on math tests. Even so, the study found no gender differences in math achievement, with the researchers suggesting that girls may well have outperformed boys were it not for their anxiety.


 Robbing retirees – The dirty little secret of O’s student-loan fix (New York Post)

President Obama’s much-touted plan to put a one-year freeze on student interest rates was signed into law with great fanfare this month. But the bill’s supporters hadn’t said where the money to subsidize the lower rates would come from.

Columnist Daniel Indiviglio of Reuters dug up the details this week, calling the bill financial “hocus-pocus.” The student-loan scheme was buried in a transportation bill. In it, the government raided its pension-guarantee fund to the tune of $6 billion — although the fund is already running a deficit of $26 billion.

The student-loan bill puts the pension system in jeopardy. To cover future payouts, pension contributions will need to rise by as much as $50 billion a year. The fund’s already broke; now, thanks to this reckless bill, it’s one step closer to total collapse.


—  Over two million K-12 students use online education

Did you know that 30 states allow K-12 students to learn entirely online? Across the country, more than two million K-12 students participate in some form of online education, and nearly 300,000 do so full time, according to John Watson, founder of the Evergreen Education Group, a consulting firm in Durango, Colo.


—  ‘
The U.S. now has 115,000 janitors with college degrees, along with 83,000 bartenders, 80,000 heavy-duty truck drivers, and 323,000 waiters and waitresses.’  (The Daily Beast)

February 7, 2012

High school graduation goals do not include getting students ready for college

by Grace

Sadly, I was not surprised to learn that our local high school does not include “college or career ready” as part of its goals for graduates.

The district has adopted graduation goals. A graduate of the Eastchester Schools will be:

  • A respectful individual
  • A life-long learner
  • An effective communicator
  • A complex thinker and problem solver
  • A competent and responsible user of technology

Words have consequences.

At our local school only 59% of high school graduates are  “college or career ready” *.  This at an annual  cost of about $23,389 per pupil.

I prefer the Obama administration’s articulation of goals – much more specific, concrete, and measurable.

The goal for America’s educational system is clear: Every student should graduate from high school ready for college or a career.


Different school, similar problem
At a nearby school district, some parents are advocating that college preparation has to be front and center as goalsinstead of  other squishy priorities like global awareness, global responsibility, and 21st century skills.

* UPDATE:  I changed “college ready” to “college or career ready” to accurately reflect what was measured.  In other words, 59% were not prepared for “post-secondary” success as determined by New York’s Aspirational Performance Measure (APM).

December 15, 2011

‘Writing, writing, writing’ – a skill lacking among too many college graduates

by Grace

Jeff Selingo wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Ed about what he learned from employers who are having a difficult time finding qualified employees to hire among recent college graduates.  This was just one problem he found.

Writing, writing, writing. We keep throwing around the word “skills,” but it seems the one skill that almost every job requires is the ability to write well, and too many graduates are lacking in that area. That’s where many of the recruiters were quick to let colleges off the hook, for the most part. Students are supposed to learn to write in elementary and secondary school. They’re not forgetting how to write in college. It’s clear they’re not learning basic grammar, usage, and style in K-12.

Why are students not learning to write before they get to college?  Maybe a different type of writing instruction is needed?

Related:  The Kerrigan method of ‘Writing to the Point’

(Cross-posted at Kitchen Table Math)

October 24, 2011

High school teachers seem clueless about college readiness of their students

by Grace

Considerable disconnect between high school teachers and college professors . . .


Related:  Fewer Westchester County high school graduates are ready for college

From Newton Infographics

HT Joanne Jacobs 

September 9, 2011

EngageNY.org – Regents reform agenda website for New York educators

by Grace

John B. King Jr., the new state education commissioner, released back-to-school messages Tuesday and unveiled a new website — engageny.org — to provide information on the state’s reform initiatives.

He urged parents to ask their children, “What did you learn today? What does that mean?” And he asked educators to ask themselves: “Where are we in terms of our goals and where are we in terms of our students’ college and career readiness and how do we get there?”

Those are excellent questions educators should be asking.  It’s better than simply asking how innovative, how engaging or how technologically advanced they are.  These questions are good, but of secondary importance.

EngageNY is an evolving, collaborative platform for educators. As the Regents Reform Agenda moves forward across the state, we want you to be able to access and share resources that work for you.

A bit more about us: New York’s educators are always investigating better ways to improve what is being taught, how it’s being taught, and what to do about obstacles to student learning.

It was with these concerns in mind that we designed the Content Areas that Network Teams, administrators, principals, and teachers will use to facilitate change in schools:

  1. Common Core standards
  2. The Data-Driven Instruction cycle (DDI) and School-Based Inquiry (SBI)
  3. Teacher/Leader effectiveness (performance management systems)

As reform priorities grow and evolve over time, EngageNY will grow and evolve, too – so that you always have the resources you need to ensure success in your school.

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