Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Unprepared Students

The Oregonian today in their front page has and article about Oregon's students not having good SAT scores. http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2014/10/most_oregon_high_school_studen.html#incart_river Therefor not being ready for college, so what is the meaning of this when they actually go to college? Are colleges prepared for unprepared students?
What are colleges doing to bridge the gap between what is supposed to be the preparation of these students and what in reality is?
It seems that not much, at least not much in respect to structural change. No doubt there have been many isolated actions that are trying to address the issue such as having level 90 classes as pre-requisites for unprepared students. But these isolated and non-structural attempts to help students are not part of the widely recognized view of the need for change.

This is what I have been thinking can be done:

1. Accept that they come to college unprepared. Closing our eyes to the problem is of course not going to help. Blaming teachers for the students' undesired performance will not help the students.

2. Redefine the purpose of the first year. One objective of the redesigning is to group students in a way that they can get the benefits of peer support and tutoring.

3. Train professors teaching the freshman class on technologies and didactics relevant to the needs of these students.

4. Redesign curricula for the college years in a way that some majors may finish in less that the standard four years and some will finish in more than the standard four years.

5. Make college more affordable by redesigning the classroom time relationship to the credit hour that has been in place for decades.

Without a doubt I know there are other things we should do. Even though right now I can't think what these are!

In science we see how developments are happening at a vertiginous speed. Science education can not afford continuing without a change. Even though we have to recognize that many new teaching technologies have been developed around the idea of "active" learning and Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) but these have been within the so called 'traditional' curricula, within the traditional 'credit hour' scheme. We have to change that.

OK, we have to change that, but where do we start? How do we start? Who should start?

No comments:

Post a Comment