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Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

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Literacy of College Graduates Is On Decline

Literacy experts and educators say they are stunned by the results of a recent adult literacy assessment, which shows that the reading proficiency of college graduates has declined in the past decade, with no obvious explanation. While more Americans are graduating from college, and more than ever are applying for admission, far fewer are leaving higher education with the skills needed to comprehend routine data, such as reading a table about the relationship between blood pressure and physical activity, according to the federal study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Dolores Perin, a reading expert at Columbia University Teachers College, said that her work has indicated that the issue may start at the high school level. "There is a tremendous literacy problem among high school graduates that is not talked about," said Perin, who has been sitting in on high school classes as part of a teaching project. "It's a little bit depressing. The colleges are left holding the bag, trying to teach students who have challenges."

This article, written by Lois Romano, appeared in the December 25th, 2005 publication of The Washington Post.

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