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The first entry in the list Frank posted is from the Chronicle's annual
article on Alexander Astin's annual freshman survey.  In addition to the
report as a whole, I look at the results of three specifc items every
year for data on justifying the need for what we do.  One is the item among
"reasons noted as very important in deciding to go to college" which reads
"to improve reading and study skills". This is the same item quoted in
Frank's listing.  The reponse to this item reported in the January 24, 1994
Chronicle reporting responses of 220,757 students was 42.6% indicated
this as a very important reason.  Another item is the "number of hours
per week in the last year spent on these activities".  In this same
January 1994 article, 33.7% of the students responded they spent 6 or
more hours a week studying or doing homework.  This means that two-thirds
of the entering freshmen that year spent less than 6 hours per week
studying or doing homework. This statistic, for me, was a real "eye
opener" on how much work our students may perceive as being adequate for
college learning!  According to the Chronicle, " The proportion of
students who spent at least six hours a week on their studies declined
for the fourth straight year --to 33.7 per cent compared with 37.1 per
cent in 1992 and 43.7 per cent in 1981. (This report was on entering
freshmen from fall 1993). The third item deals with perceived need for
"remedial" help.  "The proportion of students who indicated that they
would need help in science rose to an all-time high of 11.8 per cent.
The proportion who indicated that they would need rememdial help in
mathematics stayed at the 1992 record high of 28.7 per cent."

Somehow, I have missed this year's report of the Astin Study in the
Chronicle. If any of you can tell me which issue it appeared in this
year, please let me know.  In the meantime, according to the January 1994
report on the 1993 survey, copies of "The American Freshman: National
Norms for Fall 1993" are available for $20 plus $3 shipping from the
Higher Education Research Institution, UCLA Graduate School of Education,
405 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles 90024-1521.  Also, your institution's
office of institutional research may be able to supply you with reports
of your freshmen's responses to the Astin Survey.  I have found that our
students are pretty much true to the national data.


Georgine Materniak
University of Pittsburgh
Learning Skills Center