Transitioning from high school to college can be difficult for any student, but student-athletes often face even greater challenges. Although many students come to college unprepared for the academic rigors, student-athletes are a special population who often come under lower admission standards and face the normal psychological and academic obstacles of adjusting to college life in addition to the full-time job of preparing for success in their sport and facing scrutinizing fans. Although there are benefits to being a student-athlete, the pressures can also weigh heavy.
Administrators at one university noticed a daunting trend in 2008 – students were coming in at lower reading levels. Specifically, within one sport, an average student-athlete entered with a grade-equivalent reading level of 11.3 in 2007. This average dropped to 10.7 in 2008 and 7.62 in 2009.
After establishing a reading enhancement program at this university, reading progress tracked through the assessments showed that students increased on average 2.6 grade level equivalencies in a nine month period. Progress was highest for students new to the program (2.9) and slightly lower for those who were in at least their second year in the program (1.7). Whereas many athletic departments provide academic support for the purpose of helping students directly with a course, a reading enhancement program focuses on remediating an academic skill for the purpose of benefiting the student’s life beyond the classroom in addition to academic skills for the classroom, and knowledge for the field of play.
Common College Reading Mistakes
- Choosing an answer based on recognizing one of the words in the answer choice…not from understanding the question and answer choices.
- Being a “word caller” instead of a reader
- Memorizing information instead of learning, understanding & applying it