Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Which Students Do Our Institutions Serve?

Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Which Students Do Our Institutions Serve?

Article excerpt

Developments

A recent article by Alexander Astin asks some difficult questions about the treatment and needs of underprepared students in American higher education today. Questions regarding the real role of higher education are examined in light of many of the time-- honored traditions that are seldom questioned.

Astin begins by stating that admitting underprepared students to institutions of higher education is considered a threat to the excellence of most-especially very selective-- colleges because excellence is often measured by enrolling only the very best students. However, he believes the reverse to be true: "Providing effective 'remedial' education would do more to alleviate our most serious social and economic problems that almost any other action we could take" (p. 13).

He points to the duty of instructors in higher education to prepare future leaders as well as the general citizenry of our country and believes the erosion of engagement and participation in civil life is directly related to higher education's inability to succeed with only the brightest students. He further points out that the cost of failure to our nation in this area is even greater than its cost to individual students. …

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