A survey released today shows some intriguing findings for us as we review our general education curriculum and prepare for the future. The results show that college students are much less likely than their parents to believe that their high school education properly prepared them for college work. Both students and parents say that what they need to learn in high school and university today is different than what was needed twenty years ago.
Many of the same parents who say high school prepared their children well thought that their high school curriculum only moderately challenged them with fairly easy-to-achieve expectations. The lower the parents perceived the expectations of their children’s high school experience, the less prepared they believed their children were for college work.
One resounding finding from the study was that more math and science preparedness in high school would have benefitted their children among all parents. Majorities also believed that students should have to pass math and writing exams to graduate from high school as a bridge to college success.
Another finding that resonates with most college faculty is that hands-on learning and high-engagement practices are supported by majorities of respondents as being good improvements for their high schools.
What can and should universities do to recognize the high school-college skills gap? Is there a role for a liberal education program to remediate where needed?