The Common Core Standards were put in place by the government to ensure that all students are “college and career ready.” However, a new study suggests that students are not only not ready for college, they are about five grades behind in reading level. The study shows that the average college freshman reads at just a seventh grade reading level.
Renaissance Learning recently released a report that indicates that students are leaving high school without ever obtaining a high school level of reading. In fact, students are significantly behind, clocking in at just a seventh grade reading level on average. Though students were capable of reading seventh grade level books, that isn’t what they are reading. The average reading level of books most read by high school seniors was just 5.2 (Grade 5, Month 2). That is only a one month increase over the junior year which clocks in at a 5.1 on the accelerated reader ATOS scale.
Breitbart Texas sat down with education expert Dr. Sandra Stotsky to discuss the findings. Stotsky is not surprised by the findings, as she was on the Common Core Validation Committee in 2009-10. During that time, she refused to approve standards she called “inferior,” along with colleague James Milgram, Professor of Mathematics at Stanford University. Stotsky’s concerns regarding the Common Core Standards are a results of inadequacies in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) career readiness.
Stotsky says that we are spending billions trying to get students to go to college. However, she says they aren’t prepared when they get there.
“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.”
It appears that reading level begins to stall at the fourth grade level. The study showed that in third grade, students were reading at a 3.1 level. However, in fourth grade, the average book level read was just 3.6. Fifth grade the gap gets larger, with students reading books at a 4.0 level and sixth grade clocks in at 4.3. Seventh grade starts with 4.6 grade reading level, and by 12th grade, students are only averaging 5.2 on the reading scale. This means between fifth grade and 12th grade students, have only increased their average preferred reading level by 1.2 grades in seven years.
Stotsky says it is not just public schools to blame. In fact, she points out that colleges are not requiring a higher standard of reading.
“Nor are they [colleges] sending a signal to the nation’s high schools that high school level reading is needed for college readiness. Indeed, they seem to be suggesting that a middle school level of reading is satisfactory, even though most college textbooks and adult literary works written before 1970 require mature reading skills.”
Stotsky points out that this makes it difficult for universities to ensure that all graduates have a college-level reading capability upon graduation. Instead, the average reading level of a college graduate is that of a senior in high school.
Do these numbers surprise you? What steps do you think public schools and colleges should take to help boost reading levels in students?