Tag Archives: literacy

Welcome to the Profit of Education website. Continuing the conversation begun in the book Profit of Education, we discuss the latest economic evidence on education reform.

Reading, income, and race

The U.S. is hung up on race (for damn good reasons). Sometimes though, we need to think about income gaps as well as race gaps. Look at this picture about reading gaps from “Patterns of Literacy among U.S. Students,” by … Continue reading

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Literacy challenges

This week we’ll stray a little from straight education economics and discuss some of the findings in the most recent issue of The Future of Children, Literacy Challenges for the Twenty-First Century.” There’s so much great, and accessible, material here … Continue reading

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  1. Alexi says:

    My specious spuealction is this stall has all the hallmarks of the thesis of Cultural Literacy . That thesis was that the US does a great job of teaching the mechanics of reading (what a 4th grade test would mostly measure) but a poor job teaching the underlying cultural meaning of words that is necessary to decode more complicated passages that might contain previously unknown words or ideas. Part of the thesis is that this results from reading pablum rather than content in the early grades. I see this all the time in my college students. They have a superficial understanding of most words, particularly those that might have been encountered if they had been reading something with more content than My Little Goat or whatever they read in K-5 these days. Their strongest reading skill appears to be skimming over detail to seek well, they don’t know what key word they are looking for because my class content doesn’t fit into the one of the specific types of standardized tests they were trained to barely pass. So they simply skim, which means they have a lot of trouble simply reading a problem literally, paying attention to every word. Paying attention to adjectives and modifying prepositional phrases is a particular weakness. And since they are definitely above the average HS graduate, one assumes that a typical 8th grader sees only nouns and verbs and misses the higher-order content a test like NAEP presumably examines.

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