Meeting College Students Where They Are. Presentation at the Annual Conference of DET/CHE

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Presentation made on December 2, 2009 at the conference of Directors of Educational Technology for California Higher Education (DET/CHE).

Presentation made on December 2, 2009 at the conference of Directors of Educational Technology for California Higher Education (DET/CHE).

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  • Convergence of skills needed for careers, college, citizenship.
  • The Early Assessment Program (EAP) is a collaborative effort among the State Board of Education (SBE), the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California State University (CSU). The program was established to provide opportunities for students to measure their readiness for college-level English and mathematics in their junior year of high school, and to facilitate opportunities for them to improve their skills during their senior year.
  • for the CAHSEE ranges from approximately 250 (low score) to 450 (high score) with a Scale Score of 350 representing a passing score on each section of the examination. The CAHSEE has two different sections: Mathematics and English-Language Arts (ELA). The passing score for the Mathematics section of the CAHSEE is a Scale Score of 350 which represents an approximately Raw Score (percent correct) of 55%. The passing score for English-Language Arts section of the CAHSEE is a Scale Score of 350 which represents an approximate Raw Score (percent correct) of 60%.


  • 1. Meeting New College Students Where They ArePresentation at the Annual DETCHE Conference, December 2, 2009
    John B. Nash, PhD
    Iowa State University
    Associate Professor
    Educational Leadership and Policy Studies • Human Computer Interaction
    Associate Director
    Center for Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE)
  • 2. Do today’s graduating high school seniors have what it takes to succeed between now
    and the next half century?
    Image CC Flickr user GlobalGameJam
  • 3. The Challenge
    for all students
  • 4. Percentile change in importance of task type in U.S. economy
    Autor, D., Levy, F., & Murnane, R. J. (2003). [updated, D. Autor, 2008]. As shown in McLeod (2009).
  • 5. Peek
    in a couple of corners:
    • academically, where are teens?
    • 6. how might their social media habits inform your work?
  • meeting them where they are
  • 7. they’re probably going to need some help
    Credits (all Flickr CC) nics_events
  • 8. CSU Early Assessment of Readiness
    for College - 2009
    Students tested:366,949
    “…a heads-up as to whether they’re learning what the university expects.” --USA Today
    Quoted on
  • 9. CAHSEE Results July 2008for Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) for All Grades
  • 10. Proficiency of First-time Freshmen Who Were Regularly AdmittedCalifornia State University
    Fall 2008, Systemwide
  • 11. Freshmen Who Need RemediationCalifornia State University
    Fall 2008, Systemwide
  • 12. A high school diploma means
    students have learned the basics
    PAF Reality Check (2002) in Wagner (2009)
  • 13. what do college instructors say?
  • 14. 300 College Instructors of First Year Students
    Achieve, 2007
  • 15. sum
    • they believe they’re prepared
    • 16. they’re not prepared
    • 17. they arrive confused
    • 18. their technology experiences may not be what you believe they are
  • where are the levers?
  • 19. “These kids can do amazing things when you build the learning around what interests them.”
    Denis Littky (quoted in Wagner, 2008, p. 170).
  • 20. “digital natives”
    Call them what you will.
    Their skill set and online proclivities have implications
    (Wagner 2008; Boyd, 2009; Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2009)
  • 21. they’ve been growing up digital
    Image CC Flickr user sd
  • 22. Students have very little prior practice or experience acting as responsible, successful digital citizens upon exiting high school
  • 23. The public high school ed tech creed:
    In filter we trust
    Fryer, 2009
  • 24. teens and
    social media
    It’s important to understand teen social media use in order to address issues in other areas of technology (boyd, 2009).
  • 25. b4 college
    Not excited about their lessons
    Not excited about adults
    they have a network, but they are not networking
    Look at their friends list. That’s who they think they are speaking to. They just want to hang out.
    30-40 close friends
    >100 are connecting with everyone
    >1000 is rare (purview of adults and politicians)
    they are NOT on Twitter (average age on Twitter is 31)
    Not using
    “just because you have adopted a form of social media doesn't meant that young people do or ever will” (boyd, 2009).
  • 26. Class divisions among teens and social media
    MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, "burnouts," "alternative kids," "art fags," punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn't play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn't go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. These are the teens who plan to go into the military immediately after schools. Teens who are really into music or in a band are also on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.
    Boyd, 2007
    The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other "good" kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college…They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities….Most teens who exclusively use Facebook are familiar with and have an opinion about MySpace. These teens are very aware of MySpace and they often have a negative opinion about it. They see it as gaudy, immature, and "so middle school.”
    Boyd 2007
  • 27. Implications for colleges
    Just because they are using it, doesn’t mean it fits in the classroom.
    Instructors, professors need to figure out how a tool works in real life, then do it in the classroom.
    Search and sharing
    Help them understand these tools
    Few know how Wikipedia works, the history, how it works, etc. (except that it’s bad(as they were told inhigh school))
    Wikipedia has probably never been framed as an amazing, collective knowledge production event.
    No critical thinking about remiss, even though they are the remixers
    People think the digital natives are wiser than all of us.
    Not true. They are just using it in ways different from adults.
    We project assumptions on them.
    Your new students are still teenagers.
    We, as adults, have critical thinking abilities that they don’t’ have.
    Drawn from boyd, 2009
  • 28. Going forward
    Don’t reject what they're doing…but don’t put it on a pedestal either.
    Ask them to show them the uses
    Have a conversation with them on how the tools they are using could be used for learning.
    “(It) makes us rethink our position of power as adults.” (boyd, 2009)
  • 29. John Nash
    Cell: 650.799.6703
    Twitter: @jnash
  • 30. References
    Achieve (2005). Rising to the Challenge: Are High School Graduates Prepared for College and Work? available online at
    Autor, D., Levy, F., & Murnane, R. J. (2003). The skill content of recent technological change: An empirical exploration. Quarterly Journal of Economics 188, 4. [updated, D. Autor, 2008].
    boyd, d. (2009). Teenagers who are Living and Learning with Social Media. 2009 Penn State Symposium for Teaching and Learning with Technology. Retrieved October 31, 2009, from
    boyd, d. 2007. "Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace ." Apophenia Blog Essay. June 24 .
    California Department of Education (2009). California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) Resultsfor Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) by Program (July 2008) for (All Grades) State Report. California High School Exit Exam Results. Retrieved November 29, 2009 from
    Fryer, W. (2009). CIPA. In Unmasking the Digital Truth. RetrievedDecember 2, 2009 from
    McLeod, S. (2009). Preconference Session on School Technology Leadership. Presentation at the Annual Conference of the School Administrators of Iowa, Des Moines, IA, August, 2009.
    The California State University (2009). Fall 2008 Final Regularly Admitted First-time Freshmen Remediation Systemwide. Proficiency Reports of Students Entering the CSU System. Retrieved November 29, 2009 from
    The California State University (2009). Fall 2008 Final Regularly Admitted First-time Freshmen Proficiency Systemwide. Proficiency Reports of Students Entering the CSU System. Retrieved November 29, 2009 from
    Wagner, T. (2008). The global achievement gap : why even our best schools don't teach the new survival skills our children need--and what we can do about it. New York: Basic Books.