Thursday, April 12, 2007

Getting Priorities Straight

Inside Higher Ed reports that there's a disconnect between high school and college instructors with regard to their definitions of "college readiness." Of particular interest to me is the following bit of information:
In English, the survey suggests, high school instructors’ focus on the development of students’ ideas overlooks basic grammatical and syntactic skills — possibly leading to an increased need for remedial teaching at the college level. Reading had the least misalignment between secondary and first-year college instructors, but the survey suggests that the reading skills acquired at previous levels are not built upon in high school.
As usual, reading and writing are coupled together as English tasks--which they are and should be--but the information about reading reinforces what I've seen over and over. We don't pay any attention to reading as an ongoing developmental skill. Once you can pass a comprehension test, pick out important information (efferent reading), you're considered ready for the reading world. The fact that reading is the place where we all have the same expectations indicates there's a long way to go to change our understanding of the trajectory of reading development.