« A Peek at Plans for Common Tests in Race to Top Applications | Main | House Chairman Aims to Renew Law on 'STEM' Education »

High School, College Instructors Differ on Students' Readiness

What does it mean when far more high school teachers think their students are ready for college than do the college instructors who teach them? It means we have a pretty big disconnect between what high schools think is needed for success in college and what actually is needed.

This is not exactly news. We know there are many reasons that high school students fail to make it to college, or fail to thrive once they're there. But a new survey of thousands of high school and college teachers, conducted by ACT Inc., fleshes out a few of the key reasons why.

One reason is that high school teachers and college instructors have differing views of what skills are important in college. High school teachers, for instance, rate things like media literacy and financial literacy as far more important than do college professors, who value the content areas of math, English, and science more.

Another is that high school teachers think they've prepared their students for the rigorous types of reading they will encounter in college, but college professors disagree. Science and math teachers in high school say it's important for students to master reading strategies in those subjects, but they spend little or no time teaching such things.

Expectations play a role, too. High school teachers say that they or their colleagues have lower expectations for students who are perceived as not being college-bound.

These are key new findings of the survey. The report also reiterates many other interesting findings from earlier ACT curriculum surveys that are worth examining. For example, high school teachers tend to see as crucial for college a very wide swath of content and skills, compared with college professors, who believe in a shorter list of essential skills and knowledge.

This is interesting stuff to keep in mind as the debate about defining and measuring college readiness rolls on. The full survey is packed with data; a shorter version that highlights the findings and focuses on their policy implications is also available.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments

  • Linda: My problem with homework is they give too much and read more
  • Seo Article Writer: Hello I just see your site when I am searching read more
  • Car Insurance Guy: Ah!!! at last I found what I was looking for. read more
  • cyptoreopully: Hey there everyone i was just introduceing myself here im read more
  • Connie Wms: Good grief. We have gone round and round forever with read more