On the Beat in Bluffton

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Does high school prepare students for college, work?

A new study finds a disconnect among parents, students, colleges and employers over whether students are prepared for life after high school.

The study comes from Achieve, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit that bills itself as "an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit education reform organization dedicated to working with states to raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability."

Earlier this month, the group released the results of a survey that says nearly three quarters (73 percent) of parents of students feel high school prepared their children "very well" or "extremely well" for college. In contrast, only 53 percent of students said the same.

 The chasm widened when parents, employers and college instructors were asked whether high schools are preparing students for success after high school.

The results?

Eighty-four percent of parents said they are "at least somewhat satisfied" with the job schools are doing. Fifty-six percent of employers — and only 35 percent of college instructors — said the same.

So, what does all that mean?

“Parents are more likely than faculty, employers, or even students to believe that their children are ready for their next steps upon graduation from high school,” said Sandy Boyd, chief operating officer of Achieve. “Part of the disconnect between parents and others is that parents lack the information they need to guide their students. Parents report wanting more communication from schools to better understand what their children need to be ready and how they can help.”

Among other items in the Achieve study:
  • 67% of parents indicate that they would have been more involved in their child’s high school education if they were to do it over again.
  • 60% of college students and 58% of non-students say that they would have worked harder in high school if they knew then what they know now about the expectations of colleges and the workplace.
In Indiana, state officials in recent years have increased attention to college and career readiness among Hoosier students. In fact, the State Board of Education next week will consider proposed changes to the state's high school diplomas, a move that would include putting in place a College & Career Ready diploma

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