Tag: admissions

News: American students unprepared for college?

SATtesytJust over a week ago College Board, a not-for-profit membership organization in the US, published data indicating that only 43% of the graduates from highschool in 2013 were academically prepared for college, a number that has remained the same in the last five years.

While the US is often considered the leading country with respect to the quality of their higher education institutions, this report also shows great disparity within the educational system.  During the release of the report, Cyndie Schmeiser told Chronicle of HE reporters that the fact that the number has remained unchanged is worrisome: “We are just not moving the needle as aggressively as it needs to be moved.”

SAT is one of the most important admissions exams used in the US, which is conducted in the form of a standardized test and conducted by the College Board. The SAT tests have been around since 1926 but has undergone major revisions, with the current test introduced in 2005. The majority of four-year institutions use SAT in their admission processes. The test includes measurement on three large areas – mathematics, critical reading and writing.

All of the students failed university admission exams in Liberia?

Map of Liberia (Source: Oona Räisänen)

Map of Liberia
(Source: Oona Räisänen)

BBC is reporting that in one of the two state run Liberian universities, all (!) of the students failed at the university admission exam.

Current Liberian president, the Nobel prize winning Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has frequently made statements regarding issues in the Liberian educational system. She sees the educational system as a key aspect for the nation’s future wellbeing and success:at the end of the day, if you do not have an educated population, we will be unable to build the national capacities of our young people“, and she has called for a total overhaul of the system.

The BBC correspondent for the current case has observed that “schools lack basic education material and teachers are poorly qualified“. However, one could argue that even in that context, there should be at least some percentage of students who would have the basic capacities to successfully complete the admission exams?

Well, the case of Liberia now – none. According to BBC, the university official said that the students lacked enthusiasm and English language skills, and they have made clear they would not be moved from their decision on this. Furthermore, they also argued that it is the government who now has to do something.

Less clear is what exactly the government can do in this context. After the bloody civil war  that destroyed much of the current educational system, there is still much of the basic infrastructure that needs to be set in place.

Russia to Standardize Admissions through New Test

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that the Russian Parliament approved a contentious bill that mandates by 2009 all students entering higher education would have to take the Unified State Examination. This issue has dominated Russian education debates for the past 6 years. There are both supporters and opponents of the bill.
Moscow State University.
Supporters say:
-This exam will replace inconsistent high school exams and university entrance exams.
-This new policy will allow geographically isolated students the chance to submit test via mail, hence allowing more access to students from lower socio-economical areas.
-Will cut down on the corrupt system of bribery in exchange for university admittance.
Critics say:
-This new test is an incomplete test of knowledge.
-Corruption through bribery will still prevail in the admissions process.
-Students will continue to cheat on this test, just as they did with the former testing process.
Do you think the intention of this new policy, a fairer and less corrupt admissions process, will actually be the outcome of this policy?