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50% of US 4-year College Grads are Unable to Perform Complex Literacy Tasks

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posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 05:15 PM
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www.msnbc.msn.com...

More than 50 percent of students at four-year schools and more than 75 percent at two-year colleges lacked the skills to perform complex literacy tasks.

The results cut across three types of literacy: analyzing news stories and other prose, understanding documents and having math skills needed for checkbooks or restaurant tips.

There was brighter news. Overall, the average literacy of college students is significantly higher than that of adults across the nation. Study leaders said that was encouraging but not surprising, given that the spectrum of adults includes those with much less education.


So, this is pretty disheartening, assuming it's accurate. My experience seems to confirm the findings, which is a nice way of saying more than half the people I met in various colleges were, in fact, pretty stupid.

The good news? They're smarter than adults. And here I thought the whole article was going to be gloom and doom, I'm so relieved.


And on that note, America is so doomed! There's just no hope of any sort of positive change reaching critical mass when half the people with a university degree can't interpret the label on a can of beans. I'm sorry, but it's beyond the realm of possibility. If you're unable to apply for a credit card or compare editorials, you're definitely not going to be able to connect the dots when it comes to corporate scandals, government misdeeds, conspiracies in general.

I feel like we're living in the middle ages, when the moneyed land-owning gentry controlled the peasants by keeping them illiterate and ignorant. Isn't it funny how things change so much, without ever REALLY changing?




[edit on 19-1-2006 by WyrdeOne]




posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 05:48 PM
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Every time I watch the Jay Leno bit where he goes to college graduations and asks simple questions to the graduates and they cannot answer them correctly I have to laugh. They are usually stuff I remember from high school thirty five years ago. I cannot believe that parents are paying darn good cash money to have their childern UNEDUCATED by these institutions.




posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 05:56 PM
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there is a difference in being FUNCTIONALLY LITERATE and doing "complex literacy tasks." I would assume the people writing the article fall into that 50% due to this error.

Also, I'm not sure what math has to do with literacy. Plenty of people can read and discect War and Peace but not maintain a Ledger... that is why they are Literature professors and not Accoutants.

As for the Leno questions, I am sure most get them right... they don't make the air. That's Jeopordy, and not quiet funny. As for missing things taught 30 years ago, there's a reason why. While you were learning it as CURRENT, it's barely covered now. This era is taught current, not the last. Question on Kennedy would but right up someone's alley from that time, but barely touched on in schools today where we focus on Clinton and Bush. I don't expect a Science Major to know about Kennedy (or Bush and Clinton, for that matter) but he'd better damn well know Science (because I can't help him there!).

I know a guy at the U of Alabama that can do complex Trig and Cal, works on Physics... can't keep his check book balanced.

I wouldn't put much weight behind this article. Who did this research again, and at what colleges? Sure the scope didn't just encompess the athletes?



posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 06:44 PM
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Simple conclusion would be that after the entire education process, many lack real world interaction. They are used to routines of school and dorm life etc.

While someone that did not go to college faces the "real world" every day.

People study up one thing in college and become great at it. But they become real dorks when it comes to even the most simple things.

Its common sense, and many lack it.


Street smarts and book smarts.



posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 07:00 PM
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I am glad that is only 50%, and I am glad that my soon to be four year college student daughter is not in that category.


I guess she got the brains to be able to made it in a biology major with a another major in cell biology and be a straight A student at the same time.


No, she has no social life.


Something that I see going on in major universities is the amount of alcohol and partying that goes around, no wonder students are just barely making the grades or learning anything when most of them go to class on hang overs.



posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 07:07 PM
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I don't mean to be pedantic, but while college grads should be able to do most of these things, it is not by definition, functional illiteracy to not be so able. This is a pretty good definition of functional illiteracy:


Functional illiteracy refers to the inability of an individual to use reading, speaking, writing, and computational skills efficiently in everyday life situations. Unlike an illiterate, a functionally illiterate adult could be able to read and write text in his native language (with a variable degree of gramatical [sic] correctness, speed, and style), but is unable like the first, even in his own cultural and linguistic environment, to perform such fundamental tasks as filling out an employment application, following written instructions, reading a newspaper, reading traffic signs, consulting a dictionary, or understanding a bus schedule. In short, when confronted with printed materials, adults without basic literacy skills cannot function effectively.

en.wikipedia.org...


A functionally illiterate person could not graduate from college, even though in some states they could be admitted and required to take remedial courses. Such individuals have a very low rate of graduation. I took a remedial math course to prepare me for college math because I had been out of school for so long. In retrospect, I probably didn't need it, but it didn't hurt.

Personally, I'm not sure I can make heads or tails out of credit card terms of service myself and I'm certainly not functionally illiterate.

From the article you cite:



Most students at community colleges and four-year schools showed intermediate skills, meaning they could perform moderately challenging tasks. Examples include identifying a location on a map, calculating the cost of ordering office supplies or consulting a reference guide to figure out which foods contain a particular vitamin.

Also, compared with all adults with similar levels of education, college students had superior skills in searching and using information from texts and documents. [emphasis mine]

www.msnbc.msn.com

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.



[edit on 2006/1/19 by GradyPhilpott]



posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 07:08 PM
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Dulcimer,

I couldn't agree more.

Unfortunately, there are many college grads [actually people in general] who, have all the book sense in the world, but obviously lack the real world common sense application of that knowledge.

What I find interesting is the number of college graduates, with fully accredited degrees, who end up, temporarily or otherwise, doing the "Welcome to Sheetz pump six your on" or the "Would you like to supersize that order?" thing. [to clarify] ... AFTER having graduated?!

Not to go completely off topic, but it seems more and more the demand fields and degrees are changing midstream, at the cost of those students/grads/scholars. A few years back the big push was for IT fields and backgrounds. You saw and heard it everywhere. However, now, four to six years later, upon graduation many are faced with no little or job market due to massive outsourcing of tech related fields/jobs/etc.

Any thoughts?!

[edit to add]

from original source:
Overall, the average literacy of college students is significantly higher than that of adults across the nation.


Sadly this doesn't surprise me in the least, and personally, I feel it says much about our nation's actual populace intellect.








[edit on 1/19/2006 by 12m8keall2c]



posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 07:19 PM
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I tell you what, when I was in college, business administration was hot, now I am talking many moons ago.


So good people skills were a plus.

Then technology came around and people didn't need any people skills or good used of the oral language to work in a computer all day.

Now the hot stuff is in the environment and biological sciences, due to the pandemics going around and the global warming and weather patterns.

Public health is also a hot topic for studies.



posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 07:28 PM
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Originally posted by BradKellBrrexkl
As for missing things taught 30 years ago, there's a reason why. While you were learning it as CURRENT, it's barely covered now. This era is taught current, not the last.


When did we move the Capitol of the United States? When did Puerto Rico become a state? When did Washington quit being the first president. When did the Preamble to the Constitution, or Declaration of Independence change? When did 11 plus 7 stop being 18?



posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 07:44 PM
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most people here should know such things. By, really, why should a Nuclear Scientist know, or care, about any of those except the math?

Can they do what they went to college to learn to do? Can the business major apply business technique? Does the Lawyer understand Law and Ethics? Does the Programmer know how to design and program? If so, I don't care if they know the Capital of Idaho or what year the war of 1812 was in.



posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 08:03 PM
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Originally posted by BradKellBrrexkl
most people here should know such things. By, really, why should a Nuclear Scientist know, or care, about any of those except the math?

Can they do what they went to college to learn to do? Can the business major apply business technique? Does the Lawyer understand Law and Ethics? Does the Programmer know how to design and program? If so, I don't care if they know the Capital of Idaho or what year the war of 1812 was in.


Understood, but ...

Do you not see the need for a more complete education/understanding of the world around you? What I am getting at is the compartmentalization of our society. As long as John Doe can function/perform his/her task, who cares if he/she can balance a checkbook, perform menial tasks, etc. Hence the system/support reliant and dependent society we have today.

Sorry if I've gone off topic here ...



posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 08:09 PM
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Grady, Brad
You were both right about the term 'functionally illiterate' being used in the wrong context. I changed the title of the article to reflect that. My first title was "50% of College Kids are Stupid" but I erred on the side of caution.



12m8keall2c


What I find interesting is the number of college graduates, with fully accredited degrees, who end up, temporarily or otherwise, doing the "Welcome to Sheetz pump six your on" or the "Would you like to supersize that order?" thing. [to clarify] ... AFTER having graduated?!


Oh man, don't get me started, I'm one of those people yer talking about. Not only are unemployment numbers a complete sham, but on top of that, the percentage of highly educated unemployed people has never been higher. It's starting to look like the Czech Republic, where my friend's parents lived. A doctor and a teacher, both with multiple degrees, unable to afford LIGHT BULBS!

That's where we're heading, in a handbasket.
I had to go back to school just so I could get loans and be able to put food on the table. How's that for Sysyphus syndrome, eh?



Not to go completely off topic, but it seems more and more the demand fields and degrees are changing midstream, at the cost of those students/grads/scholars. A few years back the big push was for IT fields and backgrounds. You saw and heard it everywhere. However, now, four to six years later, upon graduation many are faced with no little or job market due to massive outsourcing of tech related fields/jobs/etc.


All the IT jobs went to immigrants (they were hiring 3 recent grads from overseas for the cost of 1 recent grad from a domestic university) or were outsourced, or disappeared due to a penchant that sector had for being in business without a business model. Then all the IT people went into telemarketing. Well, that went away in short order also. Now all the former telemarketers (I'm one of 'em) are bloggers.
If anyone takes this away from us, I don't what we'll do!

marg


Something that I see going on in major universities is the amount of alcohol and partying that goes around, no wonder students are just barely making the grades or learning anything when most of them go to class on hang overs.


That goes on everywhere, for sure. I'm sure drinking and drug use in general are a HUGE component of the literacy crisis.

Mostly it comes down at the feet of parents though. If parents take an active role in teaching their kids from infancy on, it raises their ability well beyond average regardless of the IQ of the child. The basic problem is that most parents ignore their kids and let them learn from the established authorities.

Most people wouldn't trust the government (state or local) with dirty socks, what the Hell kind of job do we expect them to do with children?!

groin grinder
I think parents do a real disservice to their children by letting the state educate them (you know, parents who throw their kids at the school and basically all the kid can do is eat and throw tantrums, like raw clay that's hungry and gets runny noses). The quality is obviously not there. Parents should be teaching their kids ACTIVELY, every minute of every day, from birth until the sweet release of boarding school or college. Kids are like sponges, if you involve them in your life, and talk to them, and read to them, and pay attention to them, they will grow up to be functional members of society.

If you don't, they grow up to resemble something like a parasite that just ambles back and forth from couch to fridge, couch to fridge. These people are to people what pork rinds are to pigs, yaknow? It's so much better for everyone involved if parents actually commit more than a few minutes a week to the kid when they're in their formative years.

This is a better solution than letting them grow up to be deadbeats. Sure, it might be easier for the first few years to ignore them, but then you got them on the couch for thirty years more near the home stretch. It's just lazy, short-sighted, pointless, self-destructive stupidity - and this country is awash in it.

I was reading something the other day that said American parents spend an average of four minutes a WEEK in meaningful conversation with their children. Compare that to how much television they watch and it's not hard to see why things are in such a terrible mess.

[edit on 19-1-2006 by WyrdeOne]



posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 08:11 PM
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Timmy's mom has three kids.

The first she named Penny...


...the next she named Nichole...

...what did she name the third child? ___________



posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 08:14 PM
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50 Cent?

(Disclaimer: I did time in the public education system)



posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 08:29 PM
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Whoa, lets hold up here a bit everyone. Im in college currently and last i heard college is for "higher education." These basics such as balancing a checkbook and the like are supposed to be learned while in high school. During high school many of my courses taught such basic skills as these. Another point, college is not specifically to focus ones self on a single subject. I am a Computer informations major, My courses include computer science classes, business classes, information system classes, basics such as math/politics/seminar/sciences/and , im minoring in criminal justice wich includes many different subjects. To say college students learn one specific thing as stated above is laughable. Also in dealing with common sense, it is blatantly impossible to pass college without basic common sense...

Personally if someone graduates college and cant do basic things i see no harm in it, as long as they are unable to perform multiple tasks. Look at it this way, my sister can use a computer with ease, my grandmother cant turn one on. It is a skill some people posses and other dont for various reasons.

I think we should all start looking back on elementary,jr high, and high schools to place blame. That article appears to be off with it's facts, There is no possible way someone could graduate from the college i attend and not at the very least be a mediocre boost to society.

I dont intende to bash anyone who did not attend college. Neither of my parents did and they are both extremely intelligent and hold jobs of great importance to my hometown. But, if college students and graduates dont hold these skills......how many others actually do. Thanks for your time!



Jason



posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 08:47 PM
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I really didn't want to get into the methodology of the study since it's not mentioned in the article to a sufficient degree. And, I definitely agree that no one can go to college and study just one thing. Everyone has required subjects that include a broad swath of diverse courses.

I got into trouble with my vocational rehab counselor because my curriculum was so diverse, but he was new and didn't know what I was up to. The required curriculum and a wise use of the electives can expose a person to a virtually limitless range of disciplines in both the science and the arts.

Those who claim that the educated lack common sense are usually uneducated. Actually, there are many relatively uneducated people who are very intelligent and very many well educated people who are not particularly bright. Intelligence and education are distinctly different things. Some very intelligent, but poorly motivated folks do miserably in school, while their less bright, but highly motivated brethren excel.

Very many people graduate from college and graduate school only to find out that their only real skill is being a student, which is not the worst of all possible fates. School cannot keep up with the real world. Most of what I learned in school over the years isn't worth a heck of lot these days because so much has come down the pike since. But, what remains good for a lifetime are the skills of critical thought, the organizational skills, and the confidence to take on challenging tasks.

In fact, one's real education begins on graduation day. All that went before is just a foundation for a lifetime of learning if one is willing.

[edit on 2006/1/19 by GradyPhilpott]



posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 08:55 PM
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Originally posted by WyrdeOne
50 Cent?

(Disclaimer: I did time in the public education system)


Checks to see if Rant is looking..... pssst....WyrdeOne, whose mom is it again?



B.



posted on Jan, 19 2006 @ 08:59 PM
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The accuracy of the study is not a given, absolutely, it could be flawed in any number of ways. Hell, just the other day I found this story about a DoJ commissioned study that concluded in 2005 (at the cost of about a million bucks) and found prison rape to be just another form of sexual awakening.
So, in fact few if any rapes take place in prison, according to this recent 'study' by some schmuck from academia on the government teat.

www.abovetopsecret.com...

Anything's possible with this. However, as I said in the initial post, more than half of the people I've met over the course of my 8+ years of higher education were pretty stupid. The problem wasn't so much that they couldn't learn, it was that they couldn't think. They were never taught to be thinkers, rather, they were raised consumers.

The parents start the ball rolling down hill, and most schools help it along by simply providing a bare minimum of bland, factual information for digestion and eventual regurgitation. That's not learning, that's the intellectual equivalent of bullimia.



posted on Jan, 20 2006 @ 01:03 PM
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Not every field of study envolves the use of word problemsr. It may not be too surprising. When do you at all use math in sociology, psychology, or history or political science or any liberal art concentration? Probably never. I have taken introductory courses (bare with me) for sociology, psychology and history at a 2 year school and math only became the subject once, and our professor used it in SUCH A MISLEADING WAYm (I just did not believe what she had said)! It probably starts with the professors if you ask me, those who teach.

Then again I imagine the students may not have been too willing to give 100% effort or even 10%. Would this study have turned up different results had all the students tested been phyics, math and chemistry students? Or if all had been sociology students? Always makes you wonder why they don't publish those results.



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 01:10 AM
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All of this is just another reason for teachers and professors to drop their well-documented attempts at politically indoctrinating their students and go back to teaching what they are paid (in most cases with public money) to teach.

More time spent on the curriculum must equal better educated students.



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