A new federal study revealed that students feels school is way too easy.
The Center for American Process evaluated three years’ worth of annual surveys from the Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Researchers found that:
•37% of fourth-graders say their math work is "often" or "always" too easy;
•57% of eighth-graders say their history work is "often" or "always" too easy;
•39% of 12th-graders say they rarely write about what they read in class.
Ulrich Boser, a fellow at the center, believes that the findings challenge the “pressure-cooker” image of school given in documentary films such as Race to Nowhere. Although some children have that type of academic experience, Boser suggests that "the broad swath of American students are not as engaged as much in their schoolwork."
Robert Condiscio of the Core Knowledge Foundation, a non-profit organization promoting rigorous curriculums, believes that the “pressure-cooker” environment applies to a "small, rarefied set" of high school students. He feels that the notion of "every American kid is going home with a backpack loaded with 70 pounds of books — that's not happening."
The analysis suggests that many students are not being challenged enough academically. The report found that only one in five eight-graders read more than 20 pages a day in school or for homework. Many students admitted that they read much less than that.
"It's fairly safe to say that potentially high-achieving kids are probably not as challenged as they could be or ought to be," Boser said.
The center supports Common Core standards. This initiative’s goal is to be "robust and relevant to the real world," giving schools "a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn." The standards have been implemented nationwide for the 2014-15 school year and adopted in 45 states.
Gladis Kersaint, a math education professor at the University of South Florida and a board member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics believes that many educators underestimate the abilities of students.
Kersaint feels that the support for higher standards and the students' willingness to meet those standards "suggests that they're ready to be more challenged in math classes. Hopefully this can be a motivator for teachers to say, 'Yes, we're moving in the right direction. "
Shelbie Witte, an English professor at the University of Florida and a former classroom teacher believes that standardized tests limit the amount of content teachers can cover.
"The curriculum is just void of critical thinking, creative thinking," Witte said. “As a result, students are "probably bored, and when they're bored, they think the classes are easy."
Witte who also trains teachers feels that testing has changed the concept of school for both the teacher and the student.
"That's what they think school is, and that's really a shame," Witte said.