Joanne Jacobs summarized incoming College Board president David Coleman’s view on what a high school curriculum should look like.
Coleman wants students to read challenging materials and learn to answer questions by citing the text, not chatting about their personal experiences.
That seems to describe in a nutshell the literacy skills that students need for college.
… He often cites data from ACT scores, which this year showed that only one in every four American high-school graduates is ready to do college-level reading, writing, science, and computation. He also refers to research by the Minnesota College Readiness Center’s Paul Carney, who found that almost a third of college students enrolled in his college’s remedial writing courses had actually earned above-average grades in high-school English. The gap was partly due to the different types of writing valued by high schools and colleges: while high-school teachers rewarded students for the organization and wording of their essays, college professors placed greater value on strong thesis statements backed by evidence from the curriculum. This mismatch of expectations helps explain why 20 percent of incoming freshmen at four-year colleges, and about half at community colleges, are assigned to non-credit-bearing remedial courses.
High school poster projects instead of writing instruction
In related news, one local high school student I know is working on her fourth “poster” project since school started about a month ago. So far she has been aked to create a collage, illustrate a literary theme, and make posters in her English and history classes. This school claims they focus on college prep, and their yearly spending per pupil is about $23,000. Meanwhile, they have been sending out advertisements to parents promoting writing and SAT prep classes taught by their high school teachers at costs of $275 and $575, respectively. Do their students need this extra tutoring because they’re spending too much time on poster projects in school? I wonder.