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Are High Schools Preparing Students for College?

2595 words (10 pages) Essay in Education

08/02/20 Education Reference this

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 Did you know that even though graduation rates are rising, high schools are worrying more about the rates rather than working on giving their students the right education? High schools seem to be more focused on raising the student graduation rates rather than making sure that they are educating students and preparing them for college. Nowadays, many students are graduating without the crucial knowledge that is needed to be successful in life. This is a very important topic that needs to be discussed because education is very important and should be focused on more than it is in our world today. In order for high schools to prepare students for college they need to take the right steps to teach and support the students throughout their education.

 There has been a wide array of research done on this topic throughout the years, but it has not been given the right amount of attention needed to make a difference. College students often struggle through college and one big reason behind it is the education that they are given throughout high school and other previous education. Most High Schools offer a big variety of classes for students to take, but the classes offered are not always the most important or beneficial classes for students to be successful or prepared. Something that is very important to know about this topic is that while students are graduating, some students are still having to take remedial classes. The term remedial classes refers to classes that are taken in college but are given to serve as a review. These classes give more practice for someone who is struggling with a certain subject and is not ready to take college level coursework. In order for high schools to better prepare high school students for college they should focus more on education.

 There are many proposed reasons as to why different people believe that they are or were not properly prepared for college. Research has been done to prove that one of the many factors that causes students to feel unprepared is the teachers and the way that they are taught. ¨Subsequent research in classrooms has demonstrated that teachers do make a tangible difference in student achievement. For example, variation in student achievement has been systematically related to variation in the classroom behaviors of teachers (National Academy Press 44)¨. The way a teacher acts has a very important effect on how successful the student is in the long run. For example, if a student has a teacher who does not want to teach that student may not feel confident in their learning environment and will either not feel the need to learn the information or will not want to put the effort towards doing so. The teachers style of teaching also has a very can also have a very important effect on the way that students learn. According to an article called ¨Teaching in a digital age¨, written and reviewed on PearsonEd.com, Teachers should use more instructional methods to encourage students actively engage with the course material. It is also believed that if teachers started to prepare the lesson that they were planning on teaching, students would become more successful. There are also many personal factors that could affect how well a student is able to perform and be taught. Students have reason to believe that there are a variety of different reasons behind this conclusion as well. It is believed that the race of the student and how seperated the student is from the minority group are factors that should be considered when discussing this topic. ¨ Notable among the findings on the survey are that negro students and teachers are largely and unequally segregated from their white counterparts, and that the average minority pupil achieves less and is affected more by the quality of the school than by the average white pupil (Coleman 1)¨. The race of the student plays a factor in how well that student learns. There was a survey that was done was requested by The Civil Rights Act of 1964. The results showed that the difference between learning in an all black school vs. a mixed ethnic school showed results that made it very evident that there was a difference in learning that included the factor of race. There is also another factor known as a students socioeconomic status that plays a factor in in the learning of students. According to the same website, the impact of teachers and the quality of teaching were less important to student learning and achievement than other factors, such as students’ socioeconomic status. While this factor is also important, it was not talked about as much as race or ethnicity differences. Socioeconomic Status is basically the complete and total measure of someone’s work experience combined with their position in relation to others. This factor is essentially slightly less important, but can still make a big impact.

 Remedial classes are increasing because high schools are not taking the right steps to prepare students for college. Due to the education, and many other factors, more students are having to suffer from taking remedial classes. ¨Data from 911 two- and four- year colleges revealed that 96 percent of schools enrolled students who required remediation in the 2014-2015 academic year, the most comprehensive recent numbers (Butrymowics 4)¨. Remedial classes are one huge consequence that makes students feel like they were not prepared. Students have expressed that they feel that they are not being properly educated for a future that they want to live out. These classes are good evidence behind a students argument to explain how not so well they are being taught and prepared for college. Not only is the problem of remedial classes a problem in one state, but this is a widespread issue that occurs all over the United States of America. ¨ [In the 2014-2015 school year] at least 209 schools [across the U.S.] placed more than half of incoming students in at least one remedial classes (Butrymowics 4)¨. Many different colleges across the United States are having to enroll students in remedial classes. This is not necessarily the end of the world, but many students believe that is is a reflection of how poorly they were taught throughout high school. Although remedial classes are gradually increasing, the amount of students actually passing these classes is very low. ¨More than 60 percent of all students entering community colleges must take developmental math courses, the New York Times reported in 2014, but more than 70 percent of them never finish those classes, “leaving them unable to obtain their degrees¨ (Miranda 4)¨. This is not always the case, but it is possible. The negative side of remedial classes is that not everybody passes their classes. This is another reason that students become upset and feel that they were unprepared. Some students may even be lead to believe that they will not be able to achieve their desired degree because of these classes. Students have a very valid point when using this as their evidence. Based off of the statistics above, Remediation classes are given to students nonchalantly and not always given to the High school students who need them. One way that students believe that this problem can be solved is by implementing the SAILS program. The SAILS program is a program that offers remediation coursework to High school Juniors and Seniors. This program is believed to benefit high school students by limiting the amount of coursework that has to be retaken in college and allowing them to take it during their high school years. The amount of first year college students that feel unprepared is growing. A study was done on first year college students that shows how poorly they were prepared in High School. ¨Even those students who have done everything they were told to do to prepare for college find, often after they arrive, that their new institution has deemed them unprepared. Their high school diploma, college-preparatory curriculum, and high school exit examination scores did not ensure college readiness (Beyond the Rhetoric 1)¨. This information shows that most students do their best and put the effort in, but sometimes what is needed is a teachers help. Remedial classes are given to a large amount of students, but maybe if teachers were more helpful and decided to be a part of the students education then the student would be more successful. Colleges believe that there are many factors that lead to the belief that students are not properly prepared. ¨Another Chicago study seems to point at ACT scores as an indicator that high school students may not be as well prepared for college as they should be. According to a report in the Beacon-News, preliminary ACT scores for students in Fox Valley showed that less than one-quarter of students met college-readiness standards in all four ACT subjects, which include math, reading, English and scientific reasoning (Beyond the Rhetoric 2). With this being said, it shows that most students are not even doing well on the state administered tests that are used to see how much information the student has learned. If students are not doing well on these college entrance exams, this piece of evidence can be used as another reason behind why students feel that their education has not left them feeling prepared for college.

 Although most high schools claim that they are doing everything they can to educate their students, there is more that can be done to help students be more successful. The availability of a safe place to learn that suits the students learning needs would make a big improvement on the students overall performance. ¨By investing in education infrastructure, particularly in personalized learning tools, we can improve students’ career readiness and increase their motivation to learn. According to a survey we recently conducted, college students find adaptive learning technologies to be the most effective form of study technology: 84 percent report that they’ve seen a moderate or major improvement in grades with its help. In addition, 87 percent of college students say that having access to analytics relating to their academic performance can have a positive effect on their learning experience (Souffle 8)¨. With this being said, schools should work on making sure that the learning environment that they have is suitable for students. This may not be the biggest worry for high schools, but it can make a very big change in the way that students learn and retain information. Another thing that schools could do to help the students would be to offer more classes that focus on social issues like mental health. ¨Teachers and students should be provided with ways to recognize signs of developing mental health problems, and there should be opportunities around the awareness and management of mental health crises, including the risk of suicide or self-harm. Further, instruction should address the relationship between mental health, substance abuse, and other negative coping behaviors, as well as the negative impact of stigma and cultural attitudes toward mental illness (Barile 8)¨. High schools should make it necessary to educate all teachers and students on the importances of mental wellness. This is a very important topic that does not seem to be talked about enough. Many students struggle with mental illnesses for many personal reasons but they may not feel as though they need help until it’s too late to do so.If schools took mental health awareness one step closer, more students would feel more educated to take on more challenges and would be able to focus on their education with a positive outlook on things. If schools changed some of their focuses on more important things, students would be more prepared for college. Another thing that high schools could work on is focusing more on the differences between the students in their class. ¨Presenting material in a balanced framework of direct instruction, constructive practice and formative assessment provides all students with rigorous content along with the tools they need to actively build knowledge and thinking skills. Scaffolding can deliver instruction in manageable chunks that gradually build knowledge while supports and interactive tools provide opt-in support where students need them the most (Sharp 10)¨. When students do not feel like they are getting the right amount of help and attention they need it an play a big factor on how well they perform. Teachers should focus on presenting information at a pace that the student learns at while pushing them to their fullest potential. Students all learn at different rates and if a teacher does not stop to slow down for the student that may not understand them they are not taking the proper steps to educate the child. Schools should also focus on working to engage students and help them gain interest in what they are being taught. ¨When students actively participate in their learning, they retain more material, stay engaged, deepen their understanding, and they can more easily apply what they’ve learned. Whether they’re trying to build a balanced ecosystem, learn right triangle trigonometry or understand magnetic field lines, students learn more and care more if they are a part of the learning experience (Sharp 11)¨. If teachers start to get their students more involved and showing more participation in class, students will want to learn and begin to retain the information a lot better. Students learn better when they are involved and more teachers should include class participation in their lesson plan.

 High schools should put more effort into taking the necessary steps to prepare students for college instead of worrying about the graduation rates of the students alone. If this does not happen then I believe that the amount of students attending college after high school will decrease. I believe that this debate should be more focused on because more and more jobs are requiring students to have a college degree now. This is a very important topic because the amount of students attending college needs to increase. In conclusion, if high schools do not educate their student to the best of their ability while also keeping up with the world then the amount of students who feel prepared for college is going to drastically decrease.

Works Cited

  • Butrymowicz, Sarah. “Most Colleges Enroll Many Students Who Aren’t Prepared for Higher Education.” The Hechinger Report, 30 Jan. 2017, hechingerreport.org/colleges-enroll-students-arent-prepared-higher-education/.
  • Chen, Grace. “Are High School Graduates Ready for College? Studies Are Dismal.” Public School Review, 10 Sept. 2011, www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/are-high-school-graduates-ready-for-college-studies-are-dismal.
  • Cohen, Peter. “The Problem With High School Nostalgia.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 23 Feb. 2016, www.usnews.com/opinion/knowledge-bank/articles/2016-02-23/overhaul-high-school-to-Better-prepare-students-for-their-futures.
  • Coleman, James S. “EQUALITY OF EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY.” ERIC, 30 Nov. 1965, eric.ed.gov/?id=ED012275.
  • Ijaz, Amna. “High Schools Are Failing to Prepare Students for College.” Study Breaks, 21 Mar. 2017, studybreaks.com/college/college-3-2/.
  • Kolodner, Meredith. “Why Are Many Students with ‘A’ Averages Being Barred from College-Level Classes?” The Hechinger Report, 23 Feb. 2016, hechingerreport.org/why-are-many-students-with-a-averages-being-barred-from-college-level-classes/.
  • Miranda, Carla. “Youth Voice: Three Ways Schools Can Better Prepare Students for College.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 2 Aug. 2017, www.huffpost.com/entry/youth-voice-three-ways-schools-can-better-prepare_b_5978b907e4b0940189700e41.
  • “Read ‘Educating Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology: New Practices for the New Millennium’ at NAP.edu.” National Academies Press: OpenBook, 2001, www.nap.edu/read/9832/chapter/5.
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