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George Jung
02-19-2010, 11:13 PM
Anyone catch this? Several states are running 'test programs' allowing kids to graduate after 10th grade, if they pass a panel of examinations, allowing them to move on to (community) college...

Not sure why they specified 'community college', and they don't address that issue in the article. They do mention this is how 'the Europeans' do it, so it must be alright!:D


The Times reported this week (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/18/education/18educ.html)that under a program starting next year, some high school sophomores in eight states will have a chance to earn a diploma and head straight to community college. To do so, however, they will have to pass academic tests known as board exams. If they don’t pass the tests in the 10th grade, they can take them again in their junior and senior years.

One view:
We keep students in high school too long with terrible results, including high dropout rates and low skill levels among those who finish.
Whatever system is put in place must stress teaching, not new tests.

Relying on American-style standardized tests that reduce subject matter to fill-in-the-blank responses has not worked. If the intent of the initiative is to emulate European models, then the tests have to measure reasoning skills in mathematics, science and writing.
Teachers must be trained to motivate real understanding and knowledge of a basic curriculum, from science to English. The long tradition of European exams is not hobbled by efforts to enforce mechanical uniformity and the surface appearance of fairness.
The reason four-year and two-year colleges do a better job than high schools is that teachers know their subjects, determine the curriculum, and control the testing and grading under the oversight of national associations of professionals in the requisite disciplines.

versus:
We frequently bewail — with a good justification — the low achievement of our students on international achievement comparisons. At the same time, we should not forget how the American education system outshines every other — in providing second (and third, and fourth) opportunities to “late bloomers” and in the overall excellence of its colleges and universities. http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/18/a-diploma-in-10th-grade/

Presumably, those against such a plan would balk at placing relatively immature kids into a college setting. Personally, I would have loved this option - highschool was terrible, but college was where I flourished. I finished my BS in three years, and would have definitely been better off with four in college, and two in highschool.
Any experiences/thoughts on this?

Bruce Taylor
02-19-2010, 11:56 PM
Here, in Quebec, HS ends at grade 11. After that, we have two years of "CEGEP": a college curriculum at a separate institution. The CEGEP degree is either preparatory to university (science, humanities, pre-med, etc.), or technical & work-related (electronics, nursing, computer science, etc.)

For a CEGEP graduate, a bachelor's degree at university will normally take 3 years. In effect, CEGEP takes one year from the end of HS and another from the beginning of a university undergraduate program.

It was a great system for me (and my oldest kid), but not all youngsters are ready for the independence of the college environment. For those who are interested and motivated, the system offers opportunities that high school can't match. Professors are often highly qualified specialists, and courses are conducted in an atmosphere much like that of a university. Most kids are there because they choose to be, so morale tends to be good. On the other hand, some kids don't have the maturity and discipline to handle the course load (which can be heavy), and the lack of supervision is a problem for some. Having taught in the CEGEP system, I can say that some kids do need more oversight than they are likely to receive there.

paladin
02-20-2010, 03:40 AM
That's where my school started in 1955. If you had the grades they placed you in advanced standing courses. which were the college level courses although you remained in "high school", but received college credit for the classes. On graduating high school I had my first 2 years of college finished, which went a long way when getting the Air Force to pay for some more education. I used the on base USAFI program and saved the G.I. Bill, then used the G.I. Bill for more advanced schooling.

The Bigfella
02-20-2010, 03:47 AM
I shared a house when I was in first year university with a girl from New York. She was younger than me, but completing her uni the year I started.... and I started straight out of school. She was a very, very bright young woman... mature too.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
02-20-2010, 05:18 AM
If the intent of the initiative is to emulate European models, then the tests have to measure reasoning skills in mathematics, science and writing.
Teachers must be trained to motivate real understanding and knowledge of a basic curriculum, from science to English. The long tradition of European exams is not hobbled by efforts to enforce mechanical uniformity and the surface appearance of fairness.

No sane man would put that in front of a European audience - unless of course he was a comedian.

Europe is not a big place with a long tradition - its a lot of smaller places with a rich diversity (or disastrous mess) of different views and traditions.

My family - self, wife and the mandatory two kids, is a fine example - no two of us went through the same system...

Tristan
02-20-2010, 09:23 AM
In my opinion, a large part of HS (here in the US) is a waste of time. Too often classes are "dumbed down" or only taught "to the Test (so kids can pass the SAT's)" An example, at my son's HS, the one lad who graduated with highest honors, who was accepted with full, all expense scholarship to MIT among many other prestigious schools, was almost refused HS graduation because he'd missed so much class time. Instead, he was studying at home, doing on-line classes far more advanced that those he was required to pass in HS. He (and other motivated students) could say, "I'd have done better if I hadn't had to waste time in the classroom." In my own HS experience I found most classes way too elementary and incredibly boring. The few well taught and interesting classes were pleasant exceptions. One current result of the four years in HS is an extension of adolescence, a delay in the time at which we expect "kids" to start assuming responsibility for their own lives. Universities tend to have to reteach the fundamentals of English composition and Mathematics to freshmen students because their HS achievement is lacking. My dad, as a Depression era young man, began college at age 16. He'd begun grammar school at age four, just tagging along with older siblings. He milked a herd of cows each morning before his classes to pay for college and had to quit school after two years to grab a job offer and help support his parents and younger siblings. While this may be an extreme example, it does show what one young man could do when required to behave maturely early on. Kids will do pretty much what is expected of them. If they are expected to start acting in a mature fashion by their teens they, for the most part, will. If they are allowed to extend their adolescence into their early 20's they'll do that too. If the four years of HS were actually more demanding the subsequent college or working experience could be far more advanced and productive.

Mrleft8
02-20-2010, 09:49 AM
Most kids "graduating" from HS today wouldn't get out of 8th grade 35 years ago. No doubt school is mind numbing for some. It was for me until I found a school with teachers who actually made learning interesting, not just retaining information until it was time to purge onto a test page.

phiil
02-20-2010, 09:57 AM
My father, having been "asked to finish his education elsewhere," got a college degree without having finished high school first.

My son quit high school at about 10th grade, but immediately got his GED from home.

Tristan
02-20-2010, 12:36 PM
Of my three older daughters, one went into College out of 11th grade, wound up with a PhD in psychology, two dropped out of tenth grade, did the GED's, and then went to college. Didn't seem to have hurt them.

George Jung
02-20-2010, 01:06 PM
I've often wondered about the GED option, with the intent of entering college early - but I wonder how college/uni admissions views such students? What are the implications in terms of scholarships/ etc.? While HS wasn't particularly challenging, apparently I did learn a fair amount - I was able to test out on the CLEP tests, easily. I have to wonder about 'plan b', taking the
GED early, and extending that college or grad school option.

Bruce Taylor
02-20-2010, 02:02 PM
I wonder how college/uni admissions views such students?

I don't know what it's like these days, but back in the 80s SWMBO dropped out of her senior year at a HS in Maryland, and had no trouble gaining admission to some very good schools. Only one university asked for a High School diploma. As it happens, that was the school she picked (McGill, where we met), so in the end she did have to sit for a GED. The interesting thing, to me, is that schools like Bryn Mawr were quite prepared to take her without any diploma at all.

George Jung
02-20-2010, 02:44 PM
Really interesting - and honestly, I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often. I suspect - people just aren't aware it's an option.

Tristan
02-20-2010, 03:11 PM
I suspect it's easier to get into many private schools than the state schools without a HS diploma. Not that the state schools are any better, there are just more rules, less room for exceptions, etc. in the state schools .

Chip-skiff
02-20-2010, 07:20 PM
Throughout a US public-school education, my biggest problem was being bored and frustrated by the excruciatingly slow pace. I might have taken on greater intellectual challenges quite young.

But I'd have been pretty lost socially, thrown into a pool of older students.

John Smith
02-20-2010, 07:23 PM
Two thoughts

My mom taught at a private high school and was not allowed to give any student less than a "C". Educating the kids was less important that being able to show parents of potential students that the school has a high success for GPA.

My oldest daughter was placed in "academically talented" classes in 4th grade.She graduated high school with write-ups putting her in the to 2% ever to graduate from Belleville. She could not lasso any scholarship.

She went to Trenton State College, and the only way she could figure out how we could afford it was she finished all four years in two and a half, maintaining her 4.0 GPA. She then got herself into a program where they paid her to get her Masters, and then her Doctorate.

The point I want to make here is that she could not find a scholarship with her incredible academic achievements. The football players, on the other hand..........

What does that tell us about our educational priorities?

George Jung
02-20-2010, 07:26 PM
You're preaching to the choir on that one, John.

paladin
02-20-2010, 07:50 PM
Forty years ago all military services were looking for hi tech people....now you can get in out of grade school.

David G
02-21-2010, 01:55 PM
I'd say it depends upon the kid.

My sweetie, who is quite brilliant, graduated (in 1972) from a nominally 4-year high school in 2 years, and immediately went off to Beloit College. She now has a B.S. and two Masters.

My H.S. did not offer that option. So, I graduated in '68 after a senior year spent mostly taking just 1 or two (elective) classes a day. This meant I could rise late, go to class, eat lunch, then hit the beach. Worked for me!

My oldest graduated early from an exclusive magnet program, then went into the Navy. The youngest - at the ripe and wise old age of 16 - has decided that school is a joke, the kids are lame, the teachers fools, and the system sucks. While I have more than a few reservations, he's made himself enough of an irritant at school that we've all concluded that his plan to get his G.E.D. is probably the best course for now <sigh>. I guess, even if it's a detour, he's a smart, energetic, and creative enough kid to recover just fine <he said with fingers crossed>.