ACT, Inc. (developers of the ACT college admissions exam) announces:
The ACT National Curriculum Survey, conducted every three to five years, collects data about what entering college students should know and be able to do to be ready for college-level coursework in English/writing, math, reading and science.
[Thousands] of secondary teachers and postsecondary instructors across the U.S. were surveyed… [The survey] sheds light on the gap between high school preparation and college expectations. It also details the specific subject-area knowledge and skills that are most important for students to learn to be ready for college-level coursework.
The findings suggest that current U.S. high school learning standards are still not sufficiently aligned with postsecondary expectations. The skills and knowledge that college instructors expect entering students to have are more focused and specific than what high school teachers view as important.
Among the survey’s findings:
- High school teachers rate media literacy and financial literacy as much more important than do college professors
- Professors most value content areas such as math, English, and science
- Professors feel high school students are not prepared for vigorous college-level reading
- High school teachers report that they (or their fellow teachers) have lower expectations for students perceived not to be college-bound
The full report, as well as a shorter summary, is available here.
Other research has found that the unpreparedness of college students can have an economic cost on society in addition to the challenges faced by individual students. See, for example, this report (PDF) by the Alliance for Excellent Education entitled “Paying Double: Inadequate High Schools and Community College Remediation”.