Director, National Agency for Quality in Education (Nokut)
Large parts of this year’s litter means that they have not received the knowledge they are expected to have. We must take this seriously.
This is a debate post. Opinions in the text are at the writer’s expense.
For almost two years, high school students have lived with red and yellow levels, digital teaching and a generally unpredictable and difficult situation. They themselves say that this has undoubtedly gone beyond their professional benefits. Almost 40,000 people have signed a signature campaign to have the exam canceled.
The student organization wants the same. After almost three years of upper secondary school, large parts of this year’s litter means that they have not received the knowledge they are expected to have.
We must take this seriously.
In the autumn, many of them will start at a college or university. There are higher requirements than what will be in upper secondary school. We know that many people are struggling with that transition. IN 2018 Nokut asked students how high school prepares them for higher education. That was before the pandemic occurred.
Over 60 per cent answered that they were not sufficiently prepared in areas such as critical thinking, practical knowledge, academic writing skills and text comprehension.
There is no reason to believe that this has improved over the years of pandemic. On the contrary.
Colleges and universities must be better prepared than ever when they incorporate the new students into the academic community this autumn, both academically and socially.
Many study programs have good routines for this. Nevertheless, there is every reason to believe that the students are even less prepared for their studies now than before.
There are some measures we know have a good effect. Mapping the students’ skills at the start of their studies is one such measure. Then the universities and colleges get an overview of the level the students are at. Students gain an understanding of their own level of knowledge, and what is expected of them.
If this is followed by offers of pre-courses to the students in the areas where the competence is not good enough, it could contribute to more students reaching an acceptable level.
An example of how this has worked well, we have seen from a course in mathematics at the University of Agder.
The situation is especially difficult now. But this challenge does not disappear when the pandemic is over, and everyday school life is back to normal. We must therefore take this opportunity to ask ourselves why this is the case, and what can be done to improve the situation in the long run.
A common understanding
Strengthening the contact between the various levels of education will be a place to start. In general, there is too little cooperation between the levels at school, school owner and government level.
A more systematic contact between the upper secondary schools and the universities and the college will give them a better understanding of each other’s needs and roles.
This could help more people to be better prepared when they start higher education. It is said that you must have study qualifications when you attend a study preparation program in upper secondary school.
Then it is important that you have a common understanding of what it means.