AP classes, straight A’s, and competitive sports do not equal success for students.

From a college academic advisor.

AP classes, while demanding, may not cover the material like college classes

“What kind of person would you rather work with?” I asked. “Someone who knows what it’s like to fail and keep trying? Or someone who’s never had to struggle?”. All of them recognized the value of the first. Yet many had never practiced failure. They had chosen to quit instead of to work to improve, or they continued to fail instead of trying to change habits and bounce back.

only 1% of high-school athletes get full-ride scholarships, and only 2% get any athletic scholarship. Those are low odds, but we’re still attached to competitive sports as a pathway to college.

Students who do get athletic scholarships are tied to the sports schedule. Their limited time means fewer extracurricular activities and internships. Some take online instead of on-campus classes to accommodate travel and practices. This makes majors with strict prerequisite paths, like pre-med, engineering, and computer programming, difficult. Students may have to choose which to prioritize, their majors or their sports.

Is coding the new literacy?

Link to Full Article

Joe Morgan writes a piece for Slate titled . “I’m a Developer. I Won’t Teach My Kids to Code, and Neither Should You.”

The title is a bit strong.  I mean if they WANT to learn, why not.  I think the point is that the idea that all kids should learn to code or that it should be introduced early is misguided, which I would agree.

Joe has one of the best descriptions of what it’s like to be a professional programmer:

…Try something. See if it works. Try again. If a problem was straightforward, it would be automated or at least solved with some open-source code. All that’s left is the difficult task of creating something unique. There are no books that teach you how to solve a problem no one has seen before. This is why I don’t want my kids to learn syntax. I want them to learn to solve problems, to dive deep into an issue, to be creative. So how do we teach that?

Of course, getting something working is just the first step of building software. The next step is to make code clear, reusable, and neat. Once, early in my career, I wrote a feature and gave it to a senior developer for review. He took one look at my sloppy spacing, mismatched lines, and erratic naming conventions and just said, “Do it again.” It was working. The syntax was valid. It was still wrong. Good coders don’t just get something to work. They want it to be good.

The commenters on this article are pretty vicious and overwhelmingly disagree.  I’m curious what percent are programmers.

One of the better comments:

My thought: Teach your kids all of the skills you can – how to code, how to cook, how to sew, how to change a tire – but don’t pretend that any of it will create a magical path to wealth for them. Maybe they’ll become an internet billionaire or a great chef or an engineer…or, at worst, they’ll come to adulthood with enough skills to be self-sufficient. You can’t predict the future, but you can send your kids out with a decent set of tools.


Homework did not prepare me for college

Why is it so hard for high school administrators and teachers to know what is necessary to prepare a student for college?  What this article proves is that it can be as simple as interviewing ex-students about their college experience.

Based on the latest college completion trends, only about half of the those students (54.8 percent) will leave college with a diploma.”  If homework is preparing students for college then it is NOT working for 50% of them.

Instead of “textbook” problems, they should assign problems with the same format as one would see on exams and AP tests. That’s what we do for chemistry right now and it is very helpful. These problems have real world context and require critical thinking skills, not just memorizing formulas and using your calculator.

Read the Full article by Marcia Carrillo


Professionals without a Degree

At least in programming, I’ve always know this to be the case.  Companies, especially startups, are willing to look at candidates based on their experience and what they have demonstrated they can DO.  Degrees become important in the ABSENCE of experience or if companies plan to train young individuals and teach them what they need to know.

Good news for job-seekers without a degree

Hamrick points out that some of the industries that are doing the most hiring right now are those that focus more on the skills of an employee rather than their educational background. This means that job-seekers without a degree have an increased chance of finding employment in today’s market.

“Soft skills are often overlooked in the sense of how one prepares for employment,” he says. “But you should show that you have the ability to have a constructive conversation with others if its a customer-facing job. And you should show that you’re able to show up to work on time and do all the things that many people consider to be along the lines of someone who is a productive adult.”

Google, Apple and 12 other companies that no longer require employees to have a college degree

In 2017, IBM’s vice president of talent Joanna Daley told CNBC Make that about 15 percent of her company’s U.S. hires don’t have a four-year degree. She said that instead of looking exclusively at candidates who went to college, IBM now looks at candidates who have hands-on experience via a coding boot camp or an industry-related vocational class.



College Graduation Rates

Some schools have very high graduation rates and some don’t.  As expected, the more selective a schools is (admitting only the top students) the more likely their rates will be higher.  National average is about 60%. Is that good?  That means that 40% are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars and not obtaining a degree but are still saddled with student loans.

Undergraduate Retention and Graduation Rates

The 6-year graduation rate (150 percent graduation rate) for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year degree-granting institution in fall 2010 was 60 percent. That is, by 2016 some 60 percent of students had completed a bachelor’s degree at the same institution where they started in 2010. The 6-year graduation rate was 59 percent at public institutions, 66 percent at private nonprofit institutions, and 26 percent at private for-profit institutions. The 6-year graduation rate was 63 percent for females and 57 percent for males; it was higher for females than for males at both public (62 vs. 56 percent) and private nonprofit (68 vs. 63 percent) institutions. However, at private for-profit institutions, males had a higher 6-year graduation rate than females (28 vs. 23 percent).
Six-year graduation rates for first-time, full-time students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree in fall 2010 varied according to institutional selectivity. In particular, 6-year graduation rates were highest at institutions that were the most selective (i.e., those that accepted less than 25 percent of applicants) and were lowest at institutions that were the least selective (i.e., those that had open admissions policies). For example, at 4-year institutions with open admissions policies, 32 percent of students completed a bachelor’s degree within 6 years. At 4-year institutions where the acceptance rate was less than 25 percent of applicants, the 6-year graduation rate was 88 percent.

Bill Gates: US college dropout rates are ‘tragic’
Over 44 million Americans collectively hold more than $1.4 trillion in student loan debt and only 54.8 percent of students graduate in six years. This means that millions of Americans are taking on thousands of dollars in debt without a diploma to show for it.

some schools try to keep their graduation rates high by denying at-risk students and privileging wealthy students in the admissions process

Only about half of all Texas students graduate from college within six years

“Students can get tunnel vision about going to a certain school. … They will take on huge debt and have cheerleaders the whole time saying go straight to this university,” Tillett said.

Are College Graduation Rates Important?

Many schools with the highest graduation rates are also the colleges with the most selective, elite standards. They only accept exceptional, high-performing students, so understandably, more of those students graduate. It doesn’t mean the college is better per se; it just means those students were going to graduate at any college, because they were driven anyway.

It’s worth remembering Selingo’s warning: choosing a college based on graduation rate is like buying a car based on its safety ratings: it’s “just one measure of many.” Sure, it tells you something about the college, but don’t let it rule your choices, especially if you’re a non-traditional student. Educate yourself fully about any college you’re considering – not just graduation rates, but all of the factors that go into making an education worth your investment.


Why an Honors Student Wants to Skip College and Go to Trade School

The friction around the best path forward after high school is popping up around the country as anxious students and families try to figure out how to pay for four years of college. At the same time, business groups and state governments make the case for a free or much cheaper vocational education.

The conversation is being fueled by questions about the declining value of a college degree as well as the rising cost of tuition and student debt. Low unemployment and a strong job market are exacerbating an already growing skills gap, raising prospects for tradespeople like welders who are in high demand.

Still, the decision to forgo a four-year degree runs counter to 30 years of conventional wisdom.

Even as more students enroll in college, “40% to 50% of kids never get a college certificate or degree,”

Click for Full Article

What Happened To Your Class Valedictorian?

“…They are reliable, consistent, and well-adjusted, and by all measures the majority have good lives. “

“In another interview Arnold said, “Valedictorians aren’t likely to be the future’s visionaries . . . they typically settle into the system instead of shaking it up.”

“Research shows that what makes students likely to be impressive in the classroom is the same thing that makes them less likely to be home-run hitters outside the classroom.”

“So why are the number ones in high school so rarely the number ones in real life? There are two reasons. First, schools reward students who consistently do what they are told. Academic grades correlate only loosely with intelligence (standardized tests are better at measuring IQ). Grades are, however, an excellent predictor of self-discipline, conscientiousness, and the ability to comply with rules.”

“In an interview, Arnold said, “Essentially, we are rewarding conformity and the willingness to go along with the system.” Many of the valedictorians admitted to not being the smartest kid in class, just the hardest worker. Others said that it was more an issue of giving teachers what they wanted than actually knowing the material better. Most of the subjects in the study were classified as “careerists”: they saw their job as getting good grades, not really as learning. The second reason is that schools reward being a generalist. There is little recognition of student passion or expertise. The real world, however, does the reverse. Arnold, talking about the valedictorians, said, “They’re extremely well rounded and successful, personally and professionally, but they’ve never been devoted to a single area in which they put all their passion. That is not usually a recipe for eminence.”

“Ironically, Arnold found that intellectual students who enjoy learning struggle in high school. They have passions they want to focus on, are more interested in achieving mastery, and find the structure of school stifling. Meanwhile, the valedictorians are intensely pragmatic. They follow the rules and prize A’s over skills and deep understanding.”

“School has clear rules. Life often doesn’t. When there’s no clear path to follow, academic high achievers break down. Shawn Achor’s research at Harvard shows that college grades aren’t any more predictive of subsequent life success than rolling dice. A study of over seven hundred American millionaires showed their average college GPA was 2.9.”

Click Here for Full Article


Why all schools should abolish homework

…some elementary school kids have workweeks comparable to adults’ schedules? For most children, mandatory homework assignments push their workweek far beyond the school day and deep into what any other laborers would consider overtime

Studies have long shown that there is no academic benefit to high school homework that consumes more than a modest number of hours each week. In a study of high schoolers conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), researchers concluded that “after around four hours of homework per week, the additional time invested in homework has a negligible impact on performance.”

As parents and students, we can also organize to make homework the exception rather than the rule. We can insist that every family, teacher and student be allowed to opt out of assignments without penalty to make room for important activities, and we can seek changes that shift practice exercises and assignments into the actual school day.

Click HERE for the full article