College readiness wanes, even among top achievers

CTY director: We must reevaluate how we prepare all students

In a commentary written for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Elaine Tuttle Hansen, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, contends that U.S. students are increasingly unprepared for the academic rigors they will face in college. The problem isn't limited to lower achieving students, either, Hansen explains. In fact, our best and brightest young minds often go unchallenged through much of their school experience, even if they participate in gifted or accelerated programs, and fail to develop the study skills necessary to succeed in college and beyond.

"Our attitudes and practices send a loud and depressing message about how little we value academic achievement," writes Hansen, a former president of Bates College and a past provost and professor of English at Haverford College. "From kindergarten through college, we must think harder about what we're saying when we focus on test scores, eliminate honors and AP classes, and cut what little financing exists for research on gifted students. Even as experts and pundits talk about the global achievement gap and the importance of creativity and innovation, few ask how we can raise the ceiling for the students already above the floor."

Read more from The Chronicle of Higher Education