Getting Unprepared Students Through College

Eileen Toplansky, who teaches at two colleges in New Jersey, has a revealing article on the American Thinker entitled “Dysfunctional Literacy.

It is worth reading for the light it sheds on the tactics that many colleges employ to maximize the number of weak and disengaged students who complete their degrees. After all, they “have a lot riding on improved retention.” Certainly — they need the money whether or not the students learn much.

Toplansky writes, “The vocabulary base of many of my students ranges between the fifth and seventh grade reading level. The dictionary is a foreign object. Yet, incessantly, instructors are told to engage in peer-review; that is, students grade and evaluate other students’ work.” Why not? That probably makes the students feel good about themselves, while relieving the instructors of some onerous work.


George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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