Critical Thinking Constructing a Sound Argument in the Form Term Paper

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Letter to the Editor

The Washington Post

1150 15th Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20071

Dear Editor,

Enhancing the American education system to increase the higher order thinking ability of learners for a better opportunity to achieve future success in the workforce

Through your renowned newspaper, it is an honor to express our views on enhancing the American education system to increase the higher order thinking ability of learners.

The writer has worked in a training capacity for a major corporation in the north for five years and with the University of Harvard for four years. The writer has spent four years volunteering at the local community center working with both secondary and postsecondary children. The writer's role at the Harvard University was as program coordinator for a special committee working with the local communities, universities, and school districts in developing a community of higher order thinkers that can contribute to the success of the community.

The writer is responsible for creating the curriculum for all educational programs on campus. The writer is also responsible for scheduling meetings for students, teachers, administrators, business and medical leaders in the community, and government officials associated with developing a community of higher order thinkers that can achieve postsecondary educational success and contribute to the success of the community.

The OECD has reported that American learners, who at one time ranked 1st among developed countries in college graduation, has dropped all the way to 12th in college graduation levels (Zakaria, 2011). The problem is that learners are not being instructed the appropriate higher order thinking skills. This has caused them a lack of success at the university level. The learners do not have the appropriate higher order thinking skills when entering post secondary institutions after graduating from high school or as adult pursuing a degree from the university.

When entering college many learners reading skills are below the university level. Many of these students have continued to score low on postsecondary entrance examinations. This has been reflected by the high volume of learners taking remedial (developmental) courses below the collegiate level in English, Math, Writing (including Reading and Study Skills). This problem is cyclical and needs to be resolved at both the secondary and postsecondary level.

With the lack of appropriate higher order thinking skills, students have struggled with university level work. Learners struggling with college level work have often received lower than anticipated first semester grades in English, Math, Social Studies, and Science. This has led to frustration among the learners that causes a great deal of dropouts at the postsecondary level.

Learners are under prepared for the rigors of university level learning. Some of the reasons include the lack of quality skills developed in Math and Reading, a decline in higher order thinking skills, less time spent on complex assignments, and less cognitive content in the curriculum (McMahon, 2009). The ability to read and comprehend ideas plays a significant role in a learner's ability to think cognitively. By developing a nation of learners unwilling or incapable of reading at a university level has indeed handicapped the learner's ability to succeed in a postsecondary learning institution. College courses are more rigorous, thus requiring students to read eight or nine collegiate books to every one in high school (Conley & Barton, 2007). If the students are unable to read at the university level, the task of reading eight or nine books is daunting, and has played a vital part in the learner's struggles with entrance examinations and first semester college curriculum.

Many experts in the field of education and the American Department of Labor believe learners are unprepared for the challenges of the university and the constraints of a global job market. Sean Cavanagh, a staff writer for Education Week, believes Schmeiser's assessment is valid and reliable, and that American learners are underprepared for university level curriculum or the world of work after graduating (2004). According to ACT, recent studies demonstrate that American high school students are clearly not ready for university courses; only 26% of students were ready for college level Biology and only 40% were prepared for collegiate Algebra (Cavanagh, 2004).

Previous studies have determined that college upperclassmen demonstrate superior higher order thinking skills than underclassmen (Sheldon, 2005), providing proof that high school instructors need to begin educating learners with higher order thinking skills to prepare them for success at the university and beyond. If it takes a university level student three to four years to…[continue]

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