Brie (brieza) wrote,

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College graduates cannot handle many complex but common tasks

I just ran across this article and the implications are kind of scary to me.

Many of the tasks in the article were things I was doing in high school. I cannot imagine a near college graduate unable to do them.

From the article:

That means they [the students surveyed] could not interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school.

The results cut across three types of literacy: analyzing news stories and other prose, understanding documents and having math skills needed for checkbooks or restaurant tips.

Critical thinking and basic math are skills that I learned in high school. The people surveyed in this article are all most-likely high school graduates. While this article does explain why I feel some days that people don't understand what they read and goes a long way to illustrate the perils that our debt carries (people aren't going to realize just how far in debt they are), it makes me wonder, how did we get here? Didn't our parents know this stuff? The people surveyed in the article are about six years younger than me, so I'm not really that far removed from them.

Has education changed so much in the past decade? Have expectations? I've read several things about how parents don't want kids held back in school and school no longer posting honor rolls and such. Articles and parents attribute it to not wanting to harm a child's self-esteem, but I've always seen it in a less charitable light: parents don't want their self-esteems trampled because their children aren't the cream of the crop. It seems like this is a bad situation, and I feel like the bar is coming down because the competition is being removed.

What could cause these type of results to come up in a study? Are my parents just smarter than average? Did critical thinking get removed from the curriculum?

Also, compared with all adults with similar levels of education, college students had superior skills in searching and using information from texts and documents.

"But do they do well enough for a highly educated population? For a knowledge-based economy? The answer is no," said Joni Finney, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, an independent and non-partisan group.

With so many complaints of jobs going overseas, we are becoming a service economy and the higher-tech portion of that is knowledge-based. We need a highly-educated population to get ahead.
Tags: articles

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