Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Illiterate graduates?

Graduates who lack reading comprehension skills shouldn't be able to get through college; students must make effort

There are some things people need to know by the time they graduate college.

How to read is one of them.

A recent study showed that more than half the graduates from four-year universities couldn't understand what they were reading at a basic level. Those studied were tested on such things as prose, document and quantitative (numbers) literacy.

This means graduates who were tested had trouble with reading comprehension, dealing with numbers or couldn't find differences between two similar things, such as ads or newspaper articles. All are skills needed in daily life.

So how are these students able to graduate?

More importantly, how did they get accepted into a university?

Reading comprehension, balancing a checkbook and comparing phone plans have become essential for living. And unless the purpose of secondary education has changed, college is supposed to be the final step in preparing graduates for the rest of their lives.

Now we have more than half of graduating students ill-equipped for the workforce. That'll boost the economy.

In today's world, a university diploma is usually required for a well-paying job, but it can only work wonders for so long. Regardless of what university it's from, no strategically hung, framed diploma will do the reading or math for you.

Ideally, this sort of problem shouldn't even go beyond high school. Learning how to read, comprehend material and do simple arithmetic are basic skills tested by the ACT and SAT, which are required in order to apply for college. Most students must be really good at guessing.

Although schools should re-evaluate their standards, students must take personal responsibility for their education.

When students don't understand something in class, it is their job to address it. That's why they're in school — to learn things they don't know or don't understand. If questions are not answered during class, then instructors always (because it is required) have office hours.

But if four years of time invested and thousands of dollars worth of tuition spent isn't enough incentive for students to learn what they need — and if they've miraculously gotten through without needing to be proficient in literacy — then that really is a personal choice.

It's not fun to work harder to learn, but we all have to do it.

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