This is not good news. The average American college freshman reads at the seventh grade level. He or she does math at the eighth grade level.
Campus Reform reports:
“We are spending billions of dollars trying to send students to college and maintain them there when, on average, they read at about the grade 6 or 7 level, according to Renaissance Learning’s latest report on what American students in grades 9-12 read, whether assigned or chosen,” said education expert Dr. Sandra Stotsky.
Stotsky, a Professor Emerita at the University of Arkansas, served on the Common Core Validation Committee in 2009-10, during which she called the standards “inferior.” She claimed the Common Core left out the very standards needed to prepare students for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers.
“The average reading level for five of the top seven books assigned as summer reading by 341 colleges using Renaissance Learning’s readability formula was rated 7.56 [meaning halfway through seventh grade],” Stotsky told Breitbart Texas.
Note that these statistics only apply to entering college freshmen. If they had included the children who do not go to college, the level would surely be lower.
Why should this be so?
It must have something to do with the way children are being brought up. It certainly has something to do with the way they are taught in school.
It might reflect the fact that many of these children are not exposed to enough spoken words when they are young. It might also be the price we pay for so many single-parent families.
Today’s American children are being brought up in less than optimal circumstances. Perhaps the statistics reflect this reality.
The second part of this report is also intriguing. For her part Stotsky is surprised to learn that, when it comes to reading, boys and girls still prefer gender appropriate books:
She adds that despite societal changes over the past 100 years, both male and female students have continued to read the same type of material as past generations. Girls tend to gravitate towards books about relationships and animals, while boys enjoy adventure stories, military exploits, superheroes, and historical nonfiction.
“For almost 100 years, there have been many surveys in this country of what children prefer to read. Despite changes in immigration patterns, family literacy, and cultural influences, what boys and girls like to read has been relatively stable,” said Stotsky.
Do teachers assign readings that appeal to boys or do they limit the selections to books that would normally appeal only to girls? Do they believe that their role is to ensure that boys grow up to become persons, not men?
One suspects that they are more likely gear the readings toward subjects like relationships and feelings and away from military exploits and superheroes.
Is this why so many boys spend so much time with their videogames and so little time on their school subjects?