Thursday, May 26, 2011

You're taking what in high school?

My 15 year old daughter who is a freshman in high school just received an award for Pre-Calc. I didn't take that class until I was a senior in high school! And yet, I probably had an easier time of getting into some of the top colleges in the country than she will. How is that possible that my children are both taking a bunch of courses and learning things, I guarantee I did not learn until college. Chemistry? Are you kidding me? My chemistry class consisted of making prom decorations, and yet I aced the science portion of the ACT. Will my children do that well even though the classes they are taking are far more advanced than what I took? I can hear you readers thinking that perhaps the ACT test in my day was far easier, huh? Well, that may very well be but I doubt it. The mismatch of class content and achievement is puzzling.  "I'm vexed, terribly vexed."

I can not believe just how much times have changed from the days when applying to a state school was a shoe-in. UT and A&M were a breeze. Today, in 2011, unless you graduate in the top 8 -10% of your class you almost can't get into these schools. And yet, close to 25% of the students fail out their freshman year. In some classes over 50% of the freshmen are taking remedial classes. Are you kidding? If they qualify for college then how can they need remedial classes.?Sounds like a good way for the universities to make more money. "sure we'll take an extra 15-24 hours worth of remedial tuition from you before you begin your 120 credit hour degree" So the schools benefit monetarily, the students that are 'automatically' admitted but need remediation really just end up paying too much for their degree. They would have been better off taking their remediation at a junior college and then transferring to UT. The students who are just below the threshold for the top 10% but yet do not need remediation end up going north to OU and getting their degrees out of state. I'm sure they'd have liked to get those seats instead of those who graduated at the top of a mediocre school and are stuck taking remediation.

So if my kids took the same line-up of classes that I took they'd have no chance of even getting into UT or A&M. The class rankings in my day were simply on a 4 pt scale. There were no honors credits or AP classes that gave you a 5 point A. GPA's were never over a 4.0.  Today, if your child doesn't max out on the 5 point classes their straight  4.0 A's may put them below the top 10%. In fact over 25% of the graduating class at my daughter's school graduates with a GPA over 4.0. If you don't have a 4.8 or above you probably won't get into UT. The games we have to play to pick the proper classes based on 'points' is ludicrous.

But since times have changed I have to get with the program. So, I have my children signed up to take all these AP classes. They definitely have more knowledge than I did when I graduated but I wonder if they will have more wisdom.

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