Academically Supporting Entering Freshmen: High School Graduates Unprepared to be College Freshmen

PROBLEM

High school students are not guaranteed success in college when they have completed college-preparatory courses (Conley, p. 4). Preparation for the graduate would come from their high school’s curriculum that would: (a) measure student academic progress; (b) observe the methods in which states, districts, schools, principals, and teachers are educating students; and (c) observe teachers’ adjusting their educating styles (DOE, 2010 p. 8). In high school English, mathematics, and science courses, students have not been taught how “to draw inferences, interpret results, analyze conflicting source documents, support arguments with evidence, solve complex problems that have no obvious answer, draw conclusions, offer explanations, conduct research, and generally think deeply about what they are being taught.” (Conley, 2007c, p. 23).

BACKGROUND

An example of one state giving academic support to their entering freshmen is Florida. It has the developmental courses (college preparatory courses) that “provide remedial instruction to address students’ academic deficiencies and enable them to gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in college-level coursework” (Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability, 2007, p. 2).

In 2006, 55% of entry-level freshmen needed developmental courses. Eighty-nine percent needed academic support in mathematics while sixty-two percent needed help in more than one concentration. Florida requires by law that developmental courses are taught in its 28 community colleges. If university students needed academic support, the 10 Florida state universities would have contracts with the community colleges to give them college preparatory support. (Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability, 2007, p.2).

SOLUTION

They conducted a review on the performance of degree-seeking entry-level college students. When they enrolled during the period from 2000-01 to 2003-04, 52% of the students who were identified as needing remediation finished that preparatory track by 2005. The level of remediation was able to show how well or how poorly the students would perform in college (Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability, 2007).

References

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