The good news here is that they're not just going to try to figure out why, they're going to see if they can do anything about it while the kids are still in K-12:
UNLV is about to launch what may be its most important research project ever: Why are so many freshmen not ready for college even though their high school grades suggest they are?
Other public universities — notably in California — are addressing the problem of poorly prepared college freshmen, but Smatresk has a unique laboratory at his disposal: the Clark County School District, the pipeline for 80 percent of UNLV’s undergraduate population.This can, of course, get some toes stepped on:
That will allow UNLV to mount what may be the most aggressive initiative in the nation to address the problem, Smatresk said.
The scope and reach of UNLV’s research — including evaluating every incoming freshman to reverse-engineer his academic upbringing — will create a new paradigm in studying student remediation, Smatresk said.
The possibility that the district will be able to identify clusters of underachieving students, and trace them to not only individual campuses but individual classrooms, has Clark County’s teachers union on edge.
The goal, they say, is to help, not blame. Sounds worthwhile to me.