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SURVEY FINDS THAT HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS SPEND LITTLE TIME ON CLASS PREPARATION, ALMOST NO TIME READING

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"Students reported that their effort was adequate for their high school courses, yet it falls well short of what will be required of them in college," said IU Professor Martha McCarthy

While most American high school students intend to go to college, research has shown that large majorities fail to graduate with the skills they need to succeed and that others do not complete the classes they need to even apply. Now, according to a new report from Indiana University’s High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE), it is apparent that students fail to put in the necessary time and academic effort before high school graduation to succeed in college.

“Students reported that their effort was adequate for their high school courses, yet it falls well short of what will be required of them in college,” said IU Professor Martha McCarthy, director of HSSSE and author of the new report. The report’s findings represent survey responses from more than ninety thousand students nationwide, from high schools across twenty-nine states, in 2004.

According to the report, Getting Students Ready for College: What Student Engagement Data Can Tell Us, 82 percent of respondents planned to enroll in some form of postsecondary education, and another 10 percent were undecided. However, only 27 percent of ninth graders will ultimately enroll and remain in college past their freshman year, according to the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.

Only 52 percent of students said they were challenged to do their best work at school. They reported that they come to class prepared with relatively little effort, and that they devote little time to studying, yet still receive good grades. About two-thirds of the students who said they spend three or fewer hours a week preparing for class reported receiving mostly A and B grades. By comparison, the report said that first-year students at four-year colleges and universities spend more than twice as many hours per week preparing for class than high school seniors.

In reading, 78 percent of high school seniors reported spending three hours or less in a typical week reading assigned materials. About 20 percent-one in five high school students-said that they spend no time on assigned readings. As the chart below shows, all students, no matter their postsecondary plans, give relatively little attention to reading.

 

Hours Per Week
Percentage of Respondents
Regular/ General
Special Education
College Prep
Career/ Vocational
All Tracks Combined
0
22
34
11
30
18
1-3
62
45
57
57
60
4-6
12
11
22
10
16
7-10
3
4
7
2
5
11-14
1
2
2
1
1
15+
1
5
2
0
1

 

The complete report can be found at http://www.iub.edu/~nsse/hssse/pdf/college_prep_hssse05.pdf.

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.