College & Workforce Readiness

Are Students Ready for College? High School Teachers: Yes; Professors: No

By Caralee J. Adams — April 18, 2013 1 min read
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High school teachers think their students are ready for college, but college professors beg to differ.

A survey by ACT finds that 89 percent of high school teachers think report their students are “well” or “very well” prepared for college-level work in the subject they teach, while just 26 percent of college instructors say incoming students are “well” or “very well” prepared for entry-level courses.

These percentages from the 2012 ACT National Curriculum Survey results, released Wednesday, are basically unchanged from when the question was asked in 2009.

Considering that the Common Core State Standards represent a significant change in expectations for what students need to know and be able to do before high school graduation, it is notable that two-thirds of educators who said they were aware of the standards surveyed anticipate that they will need to change their current curriculum no more than slightly in response to the standards, according to the ACT report.

The research suggests that state and local efforts to bring high schools up to new college- and career-readiness standards have a ways to go, and familiarity with the changes ahead varies widely among educators. Still, the optimism teachers expressed in the survey is an encouraging indication that they will be open to efforts to make them more successful in the classroom, the report says.

To bridge the divide, ACT recommends greater collaboration between K-12 and postsecondary educators on curriculum and academic expectations.

The survey also pointed to the need for better computer technology in classrooms to for digital assessments aligned with higher standards.

“Wherever possible, states and schools may need to consider channeling limited resources toward ensuring students efficient access to computer technology to prepare for the types of innovative assessments that are likely to accompany implementation of college-and career-ready standards,” the report said.

The current study results are based on a national sample of 9,937 participants, including elementary school teachers, middle school/junior high school teachers, high school teachers, and college instructors in English, writing, math, reading, and science.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the College Bound blog.