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Academic readiness lacking among post-pandemic K-12 students

EAB, a higher education consulting firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., recently released a report regarding what it calls “Gen P.” Gen P consists of students who were enrolled in high school during the pandemic. The report compares this group to students who preceded it to help identify the impact of the pandemic on K-12 students. One of EAB’s findings is that Gen P students have lower academic readiness than their predecessors.

This finding is interesting because the students express concern about their academic readiness. Their standardized test scores back that up. According to the report, “Gen P” students showed a 5-point drop on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The NAEP is a K-12 standardized testing tool. Michigan participates in NEAP testing only for students in Grades 4 and 8. Michigan registered declines in proficiency scores in all grades and all tested subjects. For the most part, the drops mirrored national average declines.

As of May 2023, Michigan high school students who took the SAT registered an average score of 998. This is the tenth worst in the nation. In comparison, Wisconsin high school students notched the highest average score (1,252). While taking the SAT is a graduation requirement in Michigan, many colleges and universities do not currently require students to submit SAT scores with their applications. That could account for at least part of the recent decline in test scores among high school students.

High school students don’t believe they are unprepared for college; they know they lack the academic readiness to attend a university. So, why not develop and offer a preparation program that will enable these students to improve their mathematics, writing, and soft skills so they can succeed in a college or university-level program?

Washtenaw County kids could use an academic readiness boost

The pandemic has had a major, negative impact on K-12 students. So, why not help these students improve their academic readiness and achieve proficiency in core subjects? Instead of devoting untold community resources on recruiting short-course trade union training programs, why not develop programs that help Washtenaw County K-12 students recover from the academic losses they suffered during the pandemic?

That might even “normalize” the idea of attending the community college once they have graduated from high school. Why wouldn’t they come back to WCC? They’ve already spent time there and have an educational relationship with the institution.

It’s time for WCC to start investing in the community that funds it, rather than wasting our resources to educate students who will never set foot in Washtenaw County.

Photo Credit: Eryne! , via Flickr