Published Online: September 30, 2005
Published in Print: October 1, 2005, as College Knowledge
Book Review

College Knowledge


What it Really Takes for Students to Succeed and What We Can Do to Get Them Ready

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

by David T. Conley (Jossey-Bass, 350 pages, $24.95)

Conley’s central argument, increasingly echoed by others in the higher education community, is that what it takes to succeed in high school is too often at odds with what it takes to succeed in college.

The crux of the problem, as Conley puts it, is that “high school courses often focus more on memorizing information or interpreting and applying information in a basic fashion, whereas college courses contain more concepts and ideas, theories and principles.” Many high school students, for instance, do little analytical writing and later struggle with college essays. Consequently, as many as half of all college freshmen must take remedial courses.

Conley, director of the Center for Educational Policy Research at the University of Oregon, emphasizes that the issue of college readiness is not a problem for top-tier students, who take AP and other intellectually rigorous courses.

His goal is to raise other students—many of whom have little college knowledge—into the top tier by, among other things, opening admission to AP, signing everyone up for essential tests such as the SAT, and simplifying the curriculum so that kids “cannot make bad choices.” His proposals, ambitious as they are, are worth pursuing, especially in an era when college is more of a requirement than an option for many occupations.

—David Ruenzel

Vol. 17, Issue 02, Page 57

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, 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.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Vocabulary Development for Striving Readers

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >