Trouble signs: What the stats tell us
Easy A's: A major study of 90,000 U.S. high-school students released in May found most spend only three hours or less preparing for classes, yet get good grades. The High School Survey of Student Engagement concluded high-school students aren't reading, writing or studying enough, and aren't taking enough math, to be prepared to succeed in college.
The study says 55 percent of students devote no more than three hours a week to class preparation, but 65 percent of these report getting A's or B's.
Students on the college track devoted the most time to preparation, but only 37 percent spent seven or more hours a week on schoolwork, compared with 22 percent of all high school students.
Decreasing challenge: Only 52 percent of high-school students surveyed said they were challenged to do their best work at school. As they progress through high school, there's a slight but steady decrease each year in the number of students who feel challenged.
Computer competition. Researchers also found that a higher proportion of high-school students are likely to spend four or more hours a week doing personal reading online — 26 percent — than doing assigned reading for their classes — 23 percent.
Teachers AWOL. High-school students who said they never or only sometimes get prompt feedback from teachers: 56 percent.
Unprepared: A separate national survey in February, done in conjunction with the first National Education Summit, an event to get governors to support high school reform, reported 40 percent of recent grads felt unprepared for college or workforce.
Remedial: A quarter of the nation's four-year college students fail either the freshman math placement test, the English test or both — and must spend precious time and extra tuition to take noncredit, remedial courses. That number goes up to three-fifths of students in two-year colleges.
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