The average college freshman reads at 7th grade level

Renaissance Learning found that the average book assigned for summer reading at college has a seventh-grade reading level.

Most college textbooks and reading material written before 1970 require mature reading skills according to Arkansas Prof. Emerita Sandra Stotsky.

The average U.S. college freshman reads at a seventh grade level, according to an educational assessment report. 

“We are spending billions of dollars trying to send students to college and maintain them there when, on average, they read at about the grade 6 or 7 level, according to Renaissance Learning’s latest report on what American students in grades 9-12 read, whether assigned or chosen,” education expert Dr. Sandra Stotsky told Breitbart Texas. 

Stotsky, a Professor Emerita at the University of Arkansas, served on the Common Core Validation Committee in 2009-10, during which she called the standards “inferior.” She claimed the Common Core left out the very standards needed to prepare students for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers.

“The average reading level for five of the top seven books assigned as summer reading by 341 colleges using Renaissance Learning’s readability formula was rated 7.56 [meaning halfway through seventh grade],” Stotsky told Breitbart Texas.

The study also found that most high school graduates don’t do much with mathematics past eighth-grade compared to students in other high-achieving countries.

In addition, the lack of “difficulty and complexity” found in high school reading material is indicative of what colleges can assign to students once they enter higher education and professors aren’t requiring incoming students read at a college level.

“Nor are [colleges] sending a signal to the nation’s high schools that high school level reading is needed for college readiness,” said Stotsky. “Indeed, they seem to be suggesting that a middle school level of reading is satisfactory, even though most college textbooks and adult literary works written before 1970 require mature reading skills.”

Stotsky claims that reading development starts in elementary school and acknowledges the importance of a student’s willingness to practice reading outside the classroom.

She adds that despite societal changes over the past 100 years, both male and female students have continued to read the same type of material as past generations. Girls tend to gravitate towards books about relationships and animals, while boys enjoy adventure stories, military exploits, superheroes, and historical nonfiction.

“For almost 100 years, there have been many surveys in this country of what children prefer to read. Despite changes in immigration patterns, family literacy, and cultural influences, what boys and girls like to read has been relatively stable,” said Stotsky.

According to Breitbart Texas,  Stotsky is credited with creating the strongest set of k-12 academic standards in the country while working for the Massachusetts Department of Education, and is responsible for developing licensure tests for prospective teachers.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @MaggieLitCRO