The College Puzzle Blog
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Dr. Michael W. Kirst

Michael W. Kirst is Professor Emeritus of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University since 1969.
Dr. Kirst received his Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard. Before joining the Stanford University faculty, Dr. Kirst held several positions with the federal government, including Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty. He was a former president of the California State Board of Education. His book From High School to College with Andrea Venezia was published by Jossey Bass in 2004.

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My blog discusses the important and complex subjects of college completion, college success, student risk factors (for failing), college readiness, and academic preparation. I will explore the pieces of the college puzzle that heavily influence, if not determine, college success rates.

Secondary Students Lack Engagement in Their Courses

Student Engagement in Secondary School
Even if components of college readiness policies and practices are implemented, high school students need to respond and be interested in college preparation. A new study of high school student engagement reveals some major concerns about college readiness (see http://ceep.indiana.edu/hssse/pdf/HSSSE_2006_Report.pdf). Engagement within a high school context is about a student’s relationship with the school community (adults, peers, curriculum, facilities, etc). HSEE uses a national sample of grades 9-12 to find that:

• Fewer than half of the students go to high school because of what happens within the classroom environment
• A great majority of students are bored every day, if not in every class
• 43% spend 0-1 hour doing written homework, 83% spend 5 hours or less
• 55% spend 0 or 1 hour per week reading and studying for class, 90% spend 5 hours or fewer
• Students want more active learning such as peer working groups and presentations
• Girls report being more engaged across all dimensions of high school engagement than boys. (Girls were 58% of 4 year college graduates in 2006).

Engagement is needed for college success and college completion.

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