Brandywine students college ready?Published 1:39pm Thursday, February 9, 2012
A recent survey shows the majority of Brandywine High School graduates feel the instruction they received at Brandywine prepared them well for life after high school.
Brandywine Superintendent John Jarpe surveyed 31 Brandywine graduates by telephone over winter break. Jarpe said he selected the graduates by looking for contact information from the school’s database.
The majority of the graduates responding to the survey were from the Class of 2009 and the Class of 2012.
All but six said they were enrolled at a college or university, including six at Southwestern Michigan College, five at Western Michigan and three at Lake Michigan College. One graduate is in the U.S. Air Force, while five are in the workplace.
Graduates were asked eight questions, including what subject and/or skill did Brandywine best prepare them for in college or a career, and vice versa. Graduates were asked if they felt prepared for the amount of classwork they are doing in college and if they would’ve done anything more or less while at Brandywine.
Respondents said they were the best prepared in the subjects of math (13 votes) and biology (six votes).
A large number of graduates said they learned great study, note-taking and test-preparation skills from a specific science class.
“That one came as a surprise to us,” Jarpe said. “It was really enlightening because study skills aren’t something a lot of us think about. It is leading to some interesting discussion and movement on the part of the staff at the high school to do more of that in class.”
Respondents felt they were least prepared in the areas of English (12 votes) and writing papers (eight votes).
“One thing we need to do a better job of is preparing our students for writing in general in college. Students felt that was a tough thing for them to do,” Jarpe said. “They were making it OK, but they felt like we could’ve done a better job with that and particular in writing research papers.”
Almost all the respondents — 22 — said the amount of work they were given in high school was appropriate. That came as a surprise to Jarpe.
“We thought the kids go away to college and they are overwhelmed by the amount of homework they get, but it wasn’t a big shock to them,” he said.
As for things respondents would’ve have done more or less of in high school, 11 said they would’ve studied more, five said they would’ve taken more prep and college courses and five said they wouldn’t have changed anything. Others said they would’ve taken school more seriously, applied for more scholarships and gotten more involved in school activities.
Jarpe said this is the first time the school district has done a survey like this. They plan to survey graduates again on an annual or bi-annual basis.
“College readiness and career readiness is a big buzzword right now in education,” Jarpe said. “From Obama on down you hear that from everywhere and it is something we are getting around to doing.”
The district plans to use the information gained from the survey to improve college and career readiness for current and future students.