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Column One: Students

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Some 71 percent of high-school juniors and seniors rate their teachers as "excellent'' or "good,'' while only 36 percent give their schools similarly high marks, according to a survey released last week by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and Sylvan Learning Centers.

The survey also found that 78 percent of students believe that Japanese high-school students are more committed to their studies than their American peers. Only 10 percent felt the two groups are equally committed, and 2 percent that Americans are more committed.

Based on the responses of 1,365 11th and 12th graders from 20 high schools nationwide, the survey also found that, while the vast majority of students who said they planned to attend college felt "very prepared'' or "somewhat prepared'' for college, only a third of the students said they were prepared to enter the workforce. But nearly half of the students said they were not going to secure a permanent job directly after graduation.

Copies of the survey are available for $3 each by calling Sylvan Learning Centers, toll free, at (800) 627-4276.

High-school students in Florida who are at risk of dropping out of school outperform high-school dropouts on the General Educational Development examination, a study by Florida State University researchers has found.

Florida is one of seven states involved in a pilot program that allows schools to provide G.E.D. preparation for potential dropouts.

Surveying records from 16 school districts in the state, the researchers found that 75.8 percent of the students in the pilot program passed the G.E.D., compared with 73 percent of the adult population taking the test.

The study also found that the pilot program appears to be successful in keeping students in school. Of the 748 students in the program, it found, 81.5 percent--including 4 percent who returned to a traditional high-school program--stayed in school, while 18.5 percent dropped out.

Over the next few years, the researchers will track the employment and college progress of the students in the program.

Young people ages 16 to 24 accounted for 42 percent of those who started in jobs between 1987 and 1989, the Census Bureau reports.

But, the agency found, the young people were more likely than others to enter low-paying service-sector jobs.

In all, 41.5 million people ages 16 and older began jobs in that period, the bureau found.--M.S.& R.R.

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