Are we (CCs) too easy?

Community College Survey of Engagement says:

For example, 49% of students said they often or very often worked harder than they thought they would need to meet an instructor’s standards, and 68% described their exams as more than moderately challenging.

Yet 67% of full-time students said they spent 10 or fewer hours preparing for class in an average week, and 24% said they always came to class prepared. Among full-time students, 29% said they had written four or fewer papers of any length during the current school year.

“Students aren’t going to learn to write well at that rate,” survey director Kay McClenney says.

Let’s see. My students have written a narrative (oops, no, Ike killed that.), a descriptive, a compare/contrast with research, a research paper, and they are presently writing their definition/illustration paper. They had to write a revision of the c/c, which many schools now count as an additional paper. And they have written a minimum of four blog posts.

I guess I don’t feel too badly about the students not writing a lot of research papers in their other classes. But I do wonder how soon in the school year they asked these students and what percentage actually will go on to a four-year school.

Some of the CCs around here have two-year programs that put the students into the job market. Do they need to know how to write an essay per class to go to work? They need to know how to write and they need to have practice, but there are some courses (like cosmetology and air conditioning repair) which just do not require writing.

Have we gotten out of the habit of thinking of CCs as two year schools? Are we back to “junior colleges” again? Just a thought.

… Btw, I do think that we are too easy. But so are the four year schools. My freshman comp I class has to write a five page research paper with five sources. The SLAC where I teach doesn’t require that till freshman comp II. In freshman comp II at my CC, they are required to write a 5-7 page literary criticism paper with six sources. The SLAC says students aren’t able to write literary criticism papers and those are only required of literature majors.

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