We know about the skills vs. knowledge debate going on as the national — sorry common — standards drumbeat gathers momentum. Here’s another question the authors of the draft standards out today raise: Does the workplace really demand the same knowledge and skills as college?
The report today draws on interviews with industry types and college professors. And it concludes that in most cases, what you need to, say, make the dean’s list and what you need to keep your job are pretty much the same. An example:
The expectation that high school graduates will be able to produce writing that is logical and coherent is found throughout the standards of top-performing countries and states. This ability is also valued highly by college faculty and employers. In response to such clear evidence, the work group included Writing student performance standard #5: “Create a logical progression of ideas or events and convey the relationships among them.”
But the authors did unearth at least one example of disagreement:
… there is not a consensus among college faculty about the need for incoming students to be able to comprehend graphs, charts, and tables and to integrate information in these data displays with the information in the accompanying text. Although some evidence suggests that this skill is critical in the workplace and in some entry-level courses, college faculties from the various disciplines disagree on its value (with science and economics faculty rating it more highly than English and humanities professors do). The work group ultimately included a standard on the integration of text and data because the preponderance of the evidence suggests the skill’s importance in meeting the demands of the twenty-first-century workplace and some college classrooms.