We talk a lot these days about how many students are doing poorly in school. For example, when it comes to 8th graders, the Nation’s Report Card tells us that:
- Only 1 in 3 are proficient in math
- 1 in 3 are proficient in reading
- 1 in 4 are proficient in civics
- 1 in 5 are proficient in U.S. history
Statistics like these cause much of today’s education focus to be placed on getting students that are falling behind caught up. But in the process of doing so, are we actually making things too easy for many other students?
Judging from a new report from the Center of American Progress, such would seem to be a strong possibility. Using student surveys gleaned from The Nation’s Report Card, researchers Ulrich Boser and Perpetual Baffour set out to examine student perception of the work they are assigned for school. Particularly revealing are the responses related to work in basic subjects like math and reading.
As the chart below shows, almost 1 in 3 students report that their work in math is often or always “too easy.”
When it comes to reading, 1 in 3 students reported doing five pages a day in school and at home. Assuming these numbers only include literature, five pages a day would equal about six 150-page books over the course of the year. Such a number is mediocre at best, but when you consider that this page estimation likely includes the various textbook pages and handouts that are read across science, history, and other classes, the picture becomes much more dismal.
For so long, we have had a one-size fits all education system, which largely out of necessity teaches to the lowest common denominator. But in doing so, do we make our school curriculum too easy for a good portion of the student population? Is it time to realize that a “fair and equitable” education system might be holding our nation’s best and brightest from accomplishing great things?
Image Credit: Richard Phillip Rücker bit.ly/1ryPA8o
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.