A study by Iowa City-based "A-C-T" — the college testing company — concludes there’s a gap between what U.S. high schools are teaching in college prep courses and what colleges want incoming students to know. Cynthia Schmeiser, president of A-C-T’s education division, says the survey indicates high school teachers try to cover too much ground and students don’t master the key academic skills they’ll need in college.
"We need to align the high school curriculum with post-secondary expectations," she says. About two-thirds of the college instructors surveyed say students are "poorly" or "very poorly" prepared for college-level classes. Meanwhile, most of the junior high and high school teachers surveyed believe their students are "well" or "very well" prepared for college.
"The gap has been there. We haven’t seen it really getting any bigger nor have we seen it getting any smaller," Schmeiser says. "I think that’s why now this data can really inform the conversations that are really going on in so many states about how to close that gap." In English and writing, for example, the survey found college instructors place more importance on basic grammar and usage skills than do high school teachers. Many college instructors expressed frustration that some students cannot write a complete sentence, according to Schmeiser.
"This study we’re hoping can inform the many conversations that are going on right now with state legislature support (among) K-12, post-secondary educators and business, talking about ‘let’s refine our state standards. Let’s make sure they’re aligned with college and work readiness,’" Schmeiser says. The American College Testing Program was founded in Iowa City back in 1959. The A-C-T is taken by millions of students and helps determine whether students will be admitted to college