Indiana University

News Release

Monday, May 9, 2005

Last modified: Monday, May 9, 2005

High school students need college prep reality check

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IU report adds to national discussion of high school education

MONDAY, MAY 9, 2005

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Most high school students say they plan on going to college. Yet they fail to put in the necessary time and academic effort before graduation to succeed in college, according to a special report from Indiana University's High School Survey of Student Engagement.

"Students reported that their effort was adequate for their high school courses, yet it falls well short of what will be required of them in college," said IU Professor Martha McCarthy, director of HSSSE and author of the new report.

The findings suggest that high school courses should be significantly more rigorous in all grades and instructional tracks.

"Getting Students Ready for College: What Student Engagement Data Can Tell Us" examines select findings from HSSSE, the National Survey of Student Engagement, and the Community College Survey of Student Engagement, all nationwide surveys drawing on tens of thousands of students.

The special report, released today (May 9), comes as scrutiny of high school education nationwide is intensifying. "Getting Students Ready" offers insights into why high school education has become such a hot topic. The findings also can help educators identify school practices that can be changed to strengthen high school students' preparation for higher education and the work force.

The report can be found at Here are some of the findings:

Results from the second annual HSSSE survey will be released in July. HSSSE identifies student behaviors and school characteristics that can be changed -- often with minimal expense -- to enhance student learning. Survey results complement standardized test scores by providing data on the experiences that influence high school students' academic performance. HSSSE is housed in the School of Education at Indiana University's Bloomington campus.

McCarthy can be reached at 812-856-8384 and More information about HSSSE is available at

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