I Found This Data Very Disturbing
Is this what is happening?
Well I hope it was a bad sample
In a recent study when college students were tested on their levels of literacy and Mathematics the results were shocking. More than half of those attending four year programs and three-fourths of those in two year programs were not able to do a variety of routine actions like compute credit card interest or compare rates and annual fees or summarize the results of a survey. In addition over half could not grasp the meaning of an editorial article in a newspaper
The areas covered in this study included balancing a check book, figuring out a restaurant tip, and understanding formal documents. One of the researchers had found it was a "little disturbing" that at this level in their education these students were unable to do such basic tasks.
All was not hopeless however since the majority of students were able to do intermediate tasks like finding the cost of an order of office supplies, locating places on a map and finding the nutritional value of foods from a reference guide.
These results were higher than those found for the average adult in the US, which is the bright side, but on the other hand the students had a higher education level. They should have done better. I work with college students and I have seen this decline first hand. But I also have seen some very capable and bright students so I'm not sure things are as bad as they seem.
When compared with like levels of education, the college students demonstrated superior skills when it came to searching for and using information gathered from documents and texts. But in the modern information age is this good enough. It seems that the majority of experts feel it is not, because in this age of technology they displayed their greatest weakness in the area of math. They were unable to determine if a car had enough gas to make it to the next gas station, an every day problem that could leave them at the side of the road. Of the two year students about 30% had only the most rudimentary math skills.
This is a very poor sign and does not speak well of our educational system, but still the fact that we are aware of it, does leave some hope that we can do something about it.