“Some of it is the disconnect between what high schools prepare students for and what colleges want. Some of it is problems getting good advising and career counseling at the high school level, [and] some of it is [that] being prepared for the high-stakes tests is not the same as being prepared to do well in college,” he said.
Lynne Muller, coordinator of the Office of School Counseling for Baltimore County Public Schools, said she believes there must be more interface between high schools and postsecondary institutions to ensure students’ college success.
“There hasn’t been a lot of vertical teaming between high schools and colleges. … What colleges want for requirements from kids varies from college to college, university to university, and program to program, so it would be very hard for high schools to have a target that they’re trying to reach for college readiness,” she said.
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Dede said that students are ill-prepared for the independence that comes with college schooling.
“You’re expected to show some degree of initiative and some degree of self-directed learning, and so what colleges report is a mixture of missing skill and then a sort of attitude and habits of the mind that have not been built up to the degree that they need to be,” said Dede.
He said high schools do students a disservice by “holding their hands” throughout their tenure.
“High schools tend to treat their students like they’re in first grade, and students respond by behaving down to that level,” Dede said.