POLL: Are Schools Challenging Our Students Enough, or Have They Become Too Easy?
A federal survey of students in elementary and high schools around the U.S. suggests many students are not being challenged in school.
Students have always seemed to view school in one of two extremes. It's either "too hard" or completely "boring," but new analysis of the Nation’s Report Card, a federal survey of students in elementary and high schools across the U.S, suggests the latter isn't far from the truth and students are not being challenged in school.
In a report released Wednesday by the Center for American Progress, a Washington D.C.-based think tank that advocates "progressive ideas," students across the country were found to consider many of their subjects "too easy."
The Center reports that:
- U.S.: 37 percent of fourth-graders say their math work is too easy. Michigan: 15 percent say math work is always or almost always too easy.
- U.S.: 39 percent of 12th-graders say they hardly ever write about what they read in class.
- U.S.: 72 percent of eighth-grade science students say they aren’t being taught engineering and technology, according to the Center's analysis of a federal database. Michigan: 79 percent say they aren't being taught engineering and technology.
- 51 percent of eighth-grade civics students and 57 percent of eighth-grade history students say their work is often or always too easy.
- 56 percent and 55 percent of 12th-graders, respectively, found their civics and history work often or always too easy.
- U.S. Almost a third of eighth-grade students report reading fewer than five pages a day either in school or for homework. Michigan: 30 percent report reading fewer than five pages a day.
- Eighth-grade students across the country also report that they rarely write lengthy answers to reading questions on tests: approximately one-third of students write long answers on reading tests twice per year or less.
While the Center notes that these data do not measure the quality of the work students are doing, it argues that added to overall low reading scores, "these results should be cause for alarm."
The bottom line of the survey is this: many students are not being pushed academically. Part of this problem may be solved when local districts adopt common core standards in 2014-15, but the Center believes far more reforms are necessary to re-engage students and challenge them in their education.
Based on your knowledge of local schools, how would you rate the state of education? Take the poll or share your thoughts in the comments below.