EDITORIAL | SAT scores decline while value of education drops

By Amanda Finnegan
October 6, 2006

While first-year college students spend a lot of energy finding the most trendy selection of school supplies, the real worry these freshmen should have is whether they are prepared for college in the first place.

In a recent national study, close to half of high school students who enter college need remedial courses, according to the New York Times. Also, the 2006 ACT scores indicated that only 21 percent of students applying to four-year colleges are ready for college-level work in the areas of reading, writing, math and biology.

The question is, who is at fault? Are high schools not preparing future college students well enough, or is education “just not that important” to America’s youth?

The value of education today is being taken for granted by many students. After a high school education, the price of a college education rolls around. The majority of the time, a college education can only be given once, if given at all. Whether you’re a commuter dishing out $25,950, or a resident paying $35,850, education at the college level should be valued and a priority.

Stepping into a classroom, prepared for the beginning of a day’s enrichment of the mind, is progression toward the future. If colleges have to keep making up for what students should have learned in high school, all students in college can be impacted. Students who take remedial courses won’t get a strong education and students who are prepared may also receive an inferior education because they are in the same classes with poorly prepared students.

Due to the growing trend of students falling behind, Cabrini continues to offer remedial courses, including 11 sections of remedial math and three sections of remedial English. Out of the 11 math sections, five classes are full, and the remaining classes are close to maximum capacity. Also, the three remedial English sections are full. Cabrini students receive college credit for the remedial courses. Since students are receiving college credit for what is probably high school work, they will never take a full complement of college courses, even if they graduate

National testing is also an indicator of how well students are prepared for a college career. Although the average SAT scores for Cabrini’s first-year full time students entering in 2005, the current sophomore class, are 990, a 27 point jump 2004, Cabrini is still 40 points under the national average. However, this jump only puts the college back to the average of two years ago, 2003, when the average score was 984. The scores plummeted to 963 in 2004, so really, the college is back where to where it was, not improving.

Maturity is also an important factor. As a freshman, it is difficult trying to find a balance between the social and academic aspects of college life. If you are coming from high school unprepared for what college has to offer you, many temptations will make it difficult to do the extra work needed to catch up.

After coming from the structured high school environment, it’s easy to get swept away by the freedom that college has to offer. If students come in academically behind, it’s going to be harder to prioritize. Students might not realize that they have to work even harder if their skills are low. Also, there are just some people who don’t care or who aren’t motivated.

Some students may be behind upon entering college, but they work extra hard to excel. Whether the standards are lowered in high school because the students aren’t trying or because they aren’t being challenged, the fact is, many students entering college are not prepared.

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Amanda Finnegan

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