NY Times study shows more unprepared high school grads

Shelby Tankersley, Staff Reporter

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We all know that high school and college are two completely different things.College often asks a lot more from a student than high school and can require more time and effort. Compared to college, high school can seem like a breeze.

The New York Times recently published an article exploring the problems of this concept. According to the article, the U.S. has more high school graduates than ever before. But when those graduates get to college or the work force, their high school education seems to have left them unprepared for the future.

“It is a pattern repeated in other school districts across the state and country — urban, suburban and rural — where the number of students earning high school diplomas has risen to historic peaks, yet measures of academic readiness for college or jobs are much lower,” The New York Times said. “This has led educators to question the real value of a high school diploma and whether graduation requirements are too easy.”

Erica Kloski, a double major in linguistics and English, said that since high school, she has valued her grades consistently and understands that good grades are important in order to succeed.

“I always studied because even if I didn’t get into the school I wanted to be in, good ethics and being studious sets you up to do well,” Kloski said.

Kloski said that she thinks that high school prepared her to enter college and was part of the reason she cared about doing well.

“My school cared about offering classes that prepared you for college,” Kloski said. “I think my school genuinely cared about preparing us to do well, but we also had the money to have resources to get things that would help us succeed.”

Kloski said that her alma mater shifted its focus from college prep to tests like the ACT during her freshman year at OU. Kloski is now a sophomore. She said that it’s disappointing to see them focus on tests instead of preparing their students to do well when they leave high school.

“I know so many people that did well in high school and now they’ve dropped out of college. And it’s so important to actually prepare the student to take college seriously.”

Regarding the topic of standardized tests, The New York Times said that the average ACT score has showed that students in some states don’t have a good enough score to even be accepted into a good college, let alone do well at a university.

If colleges around the country are losing these freshmen, how is OU doing at making sure students return for a sophomore year? It welcomed its largest class ever of 2,713 freshmen in the fall of 2015, but how many of them actually stay?

Shane Lewis, interim associate director and communications coordinator for Undergraduate Admissions, said that OU works to keep first year students through programs that help them, like the First Year Advising Center and COM 101, a class designed specifically to acclimate freshman to OU and its campus.

With 76.4 percent of freshmen returning, Lewis said that OU hopes to keep freshmen coming back each year.