High School Too Easy in US



I’ve been saying that for a LONG time. Things are so watered down now, anyone can get an A if they want. Just since 1972, the number of As tripled (from 25% to 75%). Product of smarter students? Nope! Lower standards, though. :rolleyes:

Here’s the link, but I’ll post the entire story here.

By Alex Johnson
Updated: 5:28 p.m. ET Aug. 19, 2005

<TABLE style=“PADDING-RIGHT: 15px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 5px” cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=left border=0><TBODY><TR><TD><SCRIPT>getCSS(“3027626”)</SCRIPT><LINK href="/default.ashx/id/3027626/" type=text/css rel=stylesheet></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>As they head back to classes in the next few weeks, American high school students reject the idea that they are being overburdened by homework and expectations, complaining that school isn’t challenging enough.

The findings come in two recent surveys by the National Governors Association and the Horatio Alger Association, a nonprofit education group. Combined, the surveys polled more than 11,000 high school students.

By overwhelming majorities, students said they would work harder at their studies if more was expected from them — 65 percent in the governors’ poll and 88 percent in the Alger poll.

The gap between the two results may reflect differences in how the surveys were conducted and worded. The governors association set up a Web site, where more than 10,000 students ages 16 to 18 answered questions during the past three months. The Alger poll was a more traditional telephone survey of 1,005 students ages 13 to 19 by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, which also conducts polling for NBC News.

At odds with conventional wisdom
The findings come as some education activists have started warning that strict federally imposed standards, such as President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” initiative, have piled American teenagers with too much homework and pressure to succeed on standardized tests. In a report last year, the Carrboro-Chapel Hill School District in North Carolina identified “pressure to perform” as a significant deterrent to school achievement. “High school is not a mini-university,” the report said.

But the new surveys suggest that students themselves disagree.

Only 31 percent said in the Alger poll that expectations at their schools were high or that they were being significantly challenged. The governors’ poll posed the question a different way; more then 3 in 5 students — 62 percent — said their schools had done a bad or only fair job of “holding my attention.”

Specifically, 92 percent in the Alger report said they wanted more real-world experience in the curriculum, while most endorsed standardized testing. And they said they wished they had better and earlier guidance about their futures from teachers and counselors.

“More than ever before, students set a high bar for themselves and they expect their high schools to meet the same criteria,” the Alger Association said. “Just as they expect more from themselves, students want their high schools to expect more from them as well.”

Even more striking, when the governors asked high schoolers how valuable their senior year was, half said it was a “waste of time,” or could be “much more meaningful,” and more than a third said their classes were not adequately preparing them for college.

At its annual meeting last month, the National Governors Association announced an agreement to standardize data collection on dropout rates across the states and to adopt uniform criteria for graduating.

“Students care a great deal about making high school better,” Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, who was head of the governors association when the survey closed last month, said in a statement. “We know we can’t make high school more meaningful without input from the experts.”

Other findings
The National Governors Association survey questioned 10,378 students who visited the Rate Your Future Web site from May through mid-July. The Horatio Alger Association questioned 1,005 students by telephone in May as part of its annual State of Our Nation’s Youth report, which was released last week; it reported a margin of sampling error of 3 percentage points.

As part of its larger report, the Alger Association also found that:

[ul]<LI class=textBodyBlack>33 percent of students don’t think schools are doing enough to prevent bullying, and 24 percent think not enough is being done to keep weapons off campus. <LI class=textBodyBlack>42 percent think at least half of their classmates cheat on tests. <LI class=textBodyBlack>95 percent have some form of Internet access, with 7 percent getting their access only at school. By contrast, 54 percent say they read a newspaper at least a few times a week. <LI class=textBodyBlack>63 percent have cell phones; 62 percent of those students say they break school rules against using them fairly or very often.
[li]42 percent think abuse of steroids is a fairly big or very big problem among high school athletes.[/li][/ul]© 2005 MSNBC Interactive


I was always bored in high school, and in all previous schooling for that matter too. I wansn’t every challenged. And it can be impossible in some schools to skip a class if you know the material. I had such a case too. I couldn’t go to higher classes because I hadn’t completed the lower ones. And they wouldn’t let me test out of the class either.

Finally I said screw it and just did what work was neccessary to get a passing grade. Why bother to put forth any real effort if it’s not challenging you? So yes, for that reason high school sucked. I did have pretty good test scores, except they were lower than expected, but I don’t do well with timed tests.

I completly agree with HS being too easy.


High school in the US is just baby sitting for the older kids.


Dunno about the US but here in the Netherlands the standards are also gradually declining. I remember watching study books from different eras on the same education (middle technical school electronics). In the 70’s people had to study a lot more and more difficult things than in the 90’s.


Ideally, high school should be just one step below college: this means the courses should be demanding BUT that the teachers should give the students the tools to meet those demands–and even teach them how to think and analyze. However, standard state ‘certification’ programs only exist to get $$$ from potential teaching candidates, not teach them how to think. Even their so-called “education courses” which are supposed to teach the future teachers how to instruct are mere collections of theories and potential situations that said candidates only deal with on paper and in an abstract manner. Then, their ‘student teaching’ is even a bigger joke, with ‘student teachers’ basically sitting in the class for 6-9 weeks observing most of the time, and they maybe actually take the class for 2-3 weeks, then somehow they’re ‘ready to be certified and to teach.’ To top it off, the same potential candidates in ME took the certification test, with 60% failing, then of those 44% failed it again. That report on 20/20 clearly cited problems with basic English, math…and guess what…? They lacked the ability to think and analyze. If that’s not scary enough, superintendents and administrators in all states routinely demand teachers “not fail” more than 25% of their students (it doesn’t matter that the student was lazy and/or didn’t do the work); usually, it even comes up in the interview if a teacher is “willing to pass students,” especially if they are athletes in some sport. (I know, because I’ve had that question arise in at least 4 interviews.) What’s the result of a uniform ‘administration’ throughout the States in public schools, that demand teachers either “water down their course content” and/or change grades capriciously? A high school curriculum that is largely boring, not demanding in any significant way (at the very least for ‘regular’ courses, where ‘honors’ or ‘AP’ courses aren’t involved), with little “broading of a student’s horizons” taking place. So basically, it’s no wonder high school is too easy–because teachers that want to keep their jobs lower their standards b/c of pressure from the principals and superintendents–and the “administration” doesn’t want to deal with the parents in any meaningful way (i.e., don’t want to have to deal with a parent upset about “Johnny” earning the D or F on his report card that he earned all by himself and that they never talked to him about, nor bothered to call teachers at the school to regularly check on his progress).


Well … Australia is no better.
HS here IS a baby sitting exercise, same with the 1st year of University.
Well intentioned parents are trying to remove standardised testing, claiming it puts to much pressure on students to perform.

Big deal! If that’s the most stress you have to deal with in your life, you’re a very lucky person, or a hermit.
Besides, how else can we seperate the wheat from the chaff to go on to University?

The road to hell was paved by people with good intentions.


Well, that’s a product (removal of any kind of ‘pressure’ on students that 'might make them feel badly) of the garbage, pop-psychology ‘high self-esteem-first approach,’ INSTEAD of building self-esteem through a proper estimation of one’s abilities (as you said should happen)–whether that means testing students to see if they have the required skills or not–so they can know what they’re good at and what they are not.


It’s the same in the UK and has been a big issue in the press. But I wonder, why does it matter? The workplace will, in the end, sort out the wheat from the chaff.


We can only hope so, as I’ve been surprised by the number of truly incompetent people who have gotten positions they should not have. What amazes me is that they are so incompetent that it’s hard to imagine they managed to have any contacts at all, much less sufficient ‘friends’ to get them a job they never would have earned based on their ‘qualifications.’ :Z


I will explain the situation I have. In the UK we have what are called “sets”. These range from 1-8, 1 being the best, 8 being the worst. 1 and 2 are equal, as are 3 and 4, 5-6 and 7-8. So in effect there are 4 sets. The set you are put in is based in how strong you are in that subject, and on external test results. We are only set for Maths and Science however. I find that the work in my sets (1 and 2) is right for me, if not to hard. However for everything I find it way to easy, for example English, History, Art and Geography. The problem is usually that 3/4 of the class are not going to be able to achieve above a D at GSCE (C-A* is a GSCE). Therefore the teacher must do a very easy lesson for the majority of pupils, for example my last geography lesson seemed to involve a fun based game of where does Willy the water droplet go in the water cycle. Great, but I am 15, I might have loved this game when I was 8. I work better when I am not being patronised thanks.

So yeh, I would say for much of my education it is way to easy, until the final test which will be very hard and I doubt you can get a A or A* just from what you learned playing poorly made board games. I don’t get why they cant set me for everything, and just rotate the teachers so they don’t always have to teach the crappy sets. I probably sound like a nerd and this is all I care about, but its not, I just don’t want to end up on income support by the time I’m 18.


Yes, but it is a lot easier if everybody doesn’t get an A*. If everybody was getting A* because the test was so easy, and in many subjects even the dumb kids are expected to get A/A* because as long as you pay attention you will get a A*. In maths however getting a A* is nearly impossible, for me in maths set 1 I will have to get over something like 97/105 on 3 papers to get an A*. For many subjects it has been completely devalued. It is not that uncommon here for people to get all A/A*s. Very few people don’t get even one B. The lowest I know of is somebody getting only one C.

Ben :slight_smile:


to be sure … HS in US … is more than easy … i 'm on 2nd year of high scool … we had something like that (below) in 1 semestr las school year… dont ask what we had on second semestr (triple integral - very scarry :S… and more dum things … )


I would have loved to have taken Calculus in high school, but I took the maximum amount of math, and my final year was only Trigonometry and Elementary Analysis (pre-Calculus). Turns out the Calculus teacher wasn’t very good at explaining things (I’ve yet to find or even hear of one that is), so it likely worked out for the best. But if I could find a Calculus teacher that would explain everything step-by-step, that’s something I’d love to learn. Problem is, I find most math texts only give you at best about 2/3 of the necessary instruction to understand the following problems in the problem set, so it’s near impossible to teach yourself Calculus. :frowning:


Ben, you have got to be one of the most well-spoken 15 year-olds in my recent memory… :clap: I actually had no idea how old you were until I saw all the ‘Happy 15th Birthday’ posts a few days ago. And no, you don’t sound like a nerd at all, just someone who would like to actually receive an education in the one place where that’s supposed to happen: SCHOOL. Rock on!