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Old 01-22-2006, 12:56 PM   #1
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Are We Failing At All Levels?

Study: College students lack literacy for complex tasks

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- More than half of students at four-year colleges -- and at least 75 percent at two-year colleges -- lack the literacy to handle complex, real-life tasks such as understanding credit card offers, a study found.

The literacy study funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the first to target the skills of graduating students, finds that students fail to lock in key skills -- no matter their field of study.

The results cut across three types of literacy: analyzing news stories and other prose, understanding documents and having math skills needed for checkbooks or restaurant tips.

Without "proficient" skills, or those needed to perform more complex tasks, students fall behind. They cannot interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school.

"It is kind of disturbing that a lot of folks are graduating with a degree and they're not going to be able to do those things," said Stephane Baldi, the study's director at the American Institutes for Research, a behavioral and social science research organization.
This appear to be a problem that more money will not solve.
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Old 01-22-2006, 01:26 PM   #2
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Most high schools in my area require a 'business concepts' or 'general business' class to graduate. These types of classes address exactly what this article is talking about. Unfortunatly they do not seem to be doing enough.

Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
This appear to be a problem that more money will not solve.
I agree completely.
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Old 01-22-2006, 02:20 PM   #3
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I admit to not being able to calculate tips
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Old 01-22-2006, 02:30 PM   #4
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I am unbelievably stupid in math and science. I really struggled to pass this stuff in school. All the money in the world won't rid me of my mathematical ignorance. I'd have to have a brain transplant.
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Old 01-22-2006, 02:32 PM   #5
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I have seen cashiers struggle to give me back my change when I pay for things in cash.
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Old 01-22-2006, 03:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2democrat
I admit to not being able to calculate tips
Really? Even something like 10%?

I was schooled in Communist Eastern Europe. No such thing as calculators. I was astounded that here the kids were using them in 8th grade. WTF is the point of that?
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Old 01-22-2006, 03:44 PM   #7
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Well 10% is easy, that just requires moving the decimal point. Maybe I don't give myself enough credit I really just don't go out to eat that often and I'm not usually the one paying.
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Old 01-22-2006, 03:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by WildHoneyAlways
Most high schools in my area require a 'business concepts' or 'general business' class to graduate. These types of classes address exactly what this article is talking about. Unfortunatly they do not seem to be doing enough.
My high school doesn't even have one of those classes.
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Old 01-22-2006, 04:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2democrat
Well 10% is easy, that just requires moving the decimal point. Maybe I don't give myself enough credit I really just don't go out to eat that often and I'm not usually the one paying.
I'm sure you can do it, you probably don't even think about it.

I mean, if you can do 10%, everything else is obvious. 20% is twice as much. 15%, take your 10% and add another half on top. This covers most tips, when you think about it.
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Old 01-22-2006, 04:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by WildHoneyAlways
Most high schools in my area require a 'business concepts' or 'general business' class to graduate. These types of classes address exactly what this article is talking about. Unfortunatly they do not seem to be doing enough.
This may be the culprit, mainly because, at least in my high school, "business math" was another name for "those too stupid to be in Algebra II." However, I can't blame those who have taken the full gambit of complex math in high school. The standardized tests to get into college tend to encourage taking higher math, even if it might be completely useless for your career path (such as it has been for mine).

As for me, I worked in banking for six years, so my financial literacy is certainly skewed in the opposite direction.

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Old 01-22-2006, 04:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by trevster2k
I have seen cashiers struggle to give me back my change when I pay for things in cash.
Well, sometimes it's also fatigue. I had this happen to me a handful of times when I worked with money in banking. You just want to shake your head and wonder why you just can't get something so easy all of a sudden.

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Old 01-22-2006, 04:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon

The standardized tests to get into college tend to encourage taking higher math, even if it might be completely useless for your career path (such as it has been for mine).

Melon
Thats because they are examining how you think, not what you know. At least for the SATs, the idea is that the math is all supposed to be based on aptitude. Thats why they give you the formulas. The College Board also sponsers 2 subject tests, SAT IIs which are designed to test know-how over sheer mental ability.

Fundmental math and reading is something that students are expexted to have graduating middle school.

Too often students bearly pass, move on to high school, where course options let them slip through the cracks.

Some states, CA I think, now require a state mandated final exam to graduate, an exam that focuses on 8th grade math and reading.

Supporters say this will help the state catch kids who miss out and will give a HS diploma more credit.

The problems are obvious: poor teachers, teaching to the test, and major hits in minority areas.

I think programs like No Child Left Behind, could help if properly funded and administered. It will NOT help if the money for it comes form head start. Thats what makes me think the program was 95% politics.

We just need to pump more money in to schools, specifically the districts and administrations that DESIGN the acctual curriculum. I think that will help.
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Old 01-22-2006, 04:28 PM   #13
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I meant when the cash register says return 93 cents, and they have to calculate 3 quarters, a dime, a nickel and 3 pennies. Simple counting.

I can appreciate the fatigue thing too but I was just referring to the basics. Some of it may be due to dependence on technology.

I have no facts on this but I have a theory that how each generation is taught and learns actually affects the way their brains work. Different skills are learned or lost depending on the teaching method. The logic pattern of a child of 2006 is different than one from 1970. Just my thinking on the topic.
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Old 01-22-2006, 04:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tarvark


Thats because they are examining how you think, not what you know. At least for the SATs, the idea is that the math is all supposed to be based on aptitude. Thats why they give you the formulas.
Were the precursor tests to the SATs not actually designed by Harvard and Princeton in order to punish meritocracy and find a "legitimate" reason to keep Jews (and other minorities) out of the Ivy Leagues back in the early 20th century?

Stanley Kaplan later proved that SATs are not a measure of pure aptitude and potential, and in the process created a multi-million dollar business.
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Old 01-22-2006, 05:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by IrishDawg


My high school doesn't even have one of those classes.
Exactly why I (a public school teacher) put my daughter in private school.
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Old 01-22-2006, 05:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by u2granny


Exactly why I (a public school teacher) put my daughter in private school.
It's sad, but honestly I've given up on the public school system, at least where I live. "Theocracy" or not, at least I can read classic lit, do algebra, compose a proper thesis, and know where Afghanistan is. As always, I'm eternally grateful for my parents for sacrificing most of the "normal" things so that we could go to the best schools.

I think a lot of it leads back to parent participation. My parents paid over $7000/yr per kid for elementary and high school education. Don't think for one second they'd be OK with sub-par education in ANY subject! Our school has the highest math and science MEAP scores around (standardized Michigan test). In fact, my freshmen year of college, our MEAP money taken away because of this: the public schools insisted they were doing OK, so the state allowed a test to see. If you pass at a certain level, you get $2500 for college education within the state. Hardly any public school kids passed, and all the private school kids did pass and got all the money that was supposed to go to the public schools, who were supposed to be proving their worth, but still sucked. At one of the local public high schools, "A" grade range is 90-100%, and STILL only HALF their senior class graduates. WTF?!?! At our school, "A" grades are 98% or above and all but three of us (of 278) graduated (and none of that more than 4.0 shit either!).
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Old 01-22-2006, 05:41 PM   #17
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I've always gone to public school, and I can read classic lit, do algebra, compose a proper thesis, and I even know where Afghanistan is. There are ways of challenging yourself without paying ungodly amounts that most people can't afford. Not everything is the fault of the teachers or the system.
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Old 01-22-2006, 05:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by VertigoGal
I've always gone to public school, and I can read classic lit, do algebra, compose a proper thesis, and I even know where Afghanistan is. There are ways of challenging yourself without paying ungodly amounts that most people can't afford. Not everything is the fault of the teachers or the system.
It's usually not the fault of the teachers, but the fault of the parents. I realize there are many exceptions, but like I said in my area what I posted is proven to be true. I'm sure if I looked out in more upscale, suburban areas, the quality as well as level of parent participation would improve, but in the city, the public high schools are laughable, all of them. It's sad. Over the years, they've only become worse.
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Old 01-22-2006, 06:03 PM   #19
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I am so sick of hearing people throw the "TEACHING to the TEST" mantra around. It is usually thrown around by burnt out teachers who do not give a flying fuck about teaching anything other than what they want to teach. Wake up, your classroom is not an island where you get to pick and choose what your children learn.

Good teachers look at what they have to teach and figure out how to do it in an appropriate manner. The methods used to teach, and the person at the front of the room matter most. Not teaching whatever you feel like.

Sorry, but the most productive part of NCLB is that each state is EXPECTED to have standards for each grade level. Standards that are assessed by STATE Testing.

The results of this component of Education reform are not debatable here in MA. Students are performing better on other tests, not just the state designed ones. Massachusetts ed reform began in 1993 and the results are there twelve years later.

The rest of NCLB if designed to destroy public education...PERIOD.
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Old 01-22-2006, 06:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic


It's usually not the fault of the teachers, but the fault of the parents. I realize there are many exceptions, but like I said in my area what I posted is proven to be true. I'm sure if I looked out in more upscale, suburban areas, the quality as well as level of parent participation would improve, but in the city, the public high schools are laughable, all of them. It's sad. Over the years, they've only become worse.
I'm sure you're right...it's just that a whole lot of students really couldn't care less, and I guess in a lot of cases you could trace that to the parents, I don't know. And also (in my city at least) the inner city schools do have significantly fewer resources, it's pretty sad.
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