Though higher education is now a near-universal aspiration, researchers suggest that close to half the students who enter college need remedial courses.

—from Diana Jean Schemo in the NY Times.

Translation: how can you teach freshman classes in, for example, anthropology, if the incoming students can’t read, write, do simple syntheses of what they’ve been assigned?

Answer: you can’t and you don’t. You compensate by not requiring college-level performance (e.g., no writing assignments). Why anyone would chose to pay college prices to learn high-school level material mystifies me.

Sad truth: nearly half the incoming students will not graduate.

The real question: when those that do graduate receive their diplomas, are they still behind? Or are they truly competent? Heh—guess we know the answer to that!

One comment

  1. mouse's moom says:

    Boy, I could really get going on this one!!! Two years ago, I attended my first college class in thirty years — in the web development program at the local community college. Our first assignment was to write a 1-1/2 to 3 page paper. The teacher gave *explicit* instructions for how to turn it in, including that it was due at the *beginning* of the next class (the class was held once a week). In other words, have it in your hand — printed — when you come in the door.

    And then I was absolutely amazed at the number of people who came in with one excuse or another for why their homework wasn’t ready to turn in. “I changed my idea in the middle of the night last night.” “The printer in the library wasn’t working.” “I couldn’t get my word processor to work.” Probably a full third of the class, a wide variety of ages and levels of previous education.

    Me? I was so terrified that I was actually taking a college class that you better believe that I had the assignment printed and in my hand when I walked in the door of that class.

    Rant, rant, rant.