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Why students who do well in high school bomb in college

The Kansas City Star – Jeff Guo

“The first year of college is a tough transition, and for many students, a disillusioning one. A study conducted last fall at the University of Toronto found that incoming students arrived with unreasonably optimistic expectations. On average, students predicted they would earn grade-point averages of 3.6. Those dreams were swiftly punctured. By the end of the year, the average freshman had only a 2.3. What separated the high-achievers from the low-achievers? As any college admissions counselor will tell you, high school grades have always been the single best predictor of college success. But that does not mean that high school grades are good predictors. Research shows that differences in students’ high school GPAs explain only about 20 percent of the differences between students’ college GPAs.”(more)

California students scored better on this year’s state tests — but fewer than half met college readiness goals

The Los Angeles Times – Sonali Kohli, Joy Resmovits and Sandra Poindexter

“If the state’s revamped standardized tests are accurately measuring what they set out to measure, one thing is clear: California has miles to go before all of its students are on an equal footing to face an economy that increasingly demands a college degree and stronger workplace skills. The good news, if there is good news, is there’s improvement over last year. This is the second year the test results have been released to the public, and the first allowing for year-to-year comparison. Across the state, 48% of students met English language arts standards and 37% met math standards, according to the test results released Wednesday morning. That compares with 44% in English and 34% in math last year. That means that more than half of the test-takers in each subject still fell short.”(more)

A solution as obvious as it is rare: Making high school graduates ready for college

The Hechinger Report – Matthew Randazzo

“Stephanie Lewis and one of her students both cried when he graduated in the spring from South Pittsburg High School in Tennessee, where she teaches English. He’d done something she admits she wasn’t sure he could: finish high school fully prepared to go right to college. That’s a feat a surprising number of high school graduates fail to accomplish. Half a million, or about one in four, show up on campuses each fall not ready to take college courses in math or English, according to the advocacy organization Education Reform Now. In Tennessee, only 17 percent of public high school students score at college-ready levels in English, math, reading, and science on standardized tests. It’s a little-noticed problem that forces these students to relearn material they should have already known, discouraging huge numbers of them from ultimately getting their degrees and costing the nation, by various estimates, between $1.5 billion and $7 billion a year.”(more)

Scientific Secrets To Keep Kids In College

NPR – Anya Kamenetz

“Ideas42 — a nonprofit research-into-action lab — designs policy interventions to help people make better decisions about their lives. Its primary method is through what’s called “behavioral science” — applying insights from psychology and other social sciences to real world problems. Their high-profile scientific advisors include Richard Thaler, behavioral economist and co-author of the book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness ; and Daniel Kahneman, psychologist and Nobel Laureate and author of the book Thinking, Fast And Slow. Education is one of several program areas at Ideas42, along with health, poverty and development, consumer finance, and sustainability.”(more)

3 Reasons to Consider Earning a Foreign Language Degree Abroad

The U.S. News and World Report – Anayat Durrani

“Native American Kim McCabe, who belongs to the Navajo Nation, could say the French language had her at “bonjour.” The Colorado native says it was during middle school that she realized how big her world had become, just by speaking another language – and that mastering French would be her long-term goal. “I could communicate with millions more people around the world, not just in France,” says McCabe, who is pursuing her master’s in French at Middlebury College in Vermont. She will spend one summer of her program at the Middlebury Language Schools’ School of French in Vermont and a full academic year abroad at the Middlebury School in France. There are many reasons to pursue a foreign language degree abroad. The six official languages of the United Nations – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish – are widely spoken worldwide. They also serve as languages of international diplomacy and global business. Here are some additional reasons students from around the world have chosen to earn a foreign language degree in another country.”(more)

Quantity vs. Quality: How to Make your Extracurricular Activities Meaningful

The Huffington Post – Pooja Yesantharao and Ishan Puri

“Admission to your dream college is not only contingent on academic success, but also your extracurricular work. College admission officers want to know you as more than just a number- they want to know what makes you tick – what are you passionate about, what drives you? Many students are convinced that they need to build up a huge resume, with pages and pages of activities that they are involved in. However, admissions officers do not want to see a resume with hundreds of activities, each of which you only spent a small amount of time on. They know that as a student, you only have a limited amount of time beyond your academic obligations, and they want to see that you use that time to truly pursue your interests and passions. Now, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pursue diverse activities or interests, but whatever you do choose to pursue, you should make meaningful.”(more)