Volume 3 No. 1 April 2009
OCUFA survey shows students less prepared for university
The Wikipedia kids appear less mature and lack required skills, an OCUFA survey shows. Respondents reported that first-year students are less prepared for university education than students from just three years earlier.
The Wikipedia kids appear less mature and lack required skills, according to the 2,000 faculty and academic librarians who responded to an OCUFA survey conducted in February and March.

Over 55 per cent of respondents reported that first-year students are less prepared for university education than students from just three years earlier. Respondents reported declines in writing and numeric skills as well as lower maturity among students, who believe that good grades are an entitlement.

“It is very troubling that a majority of respondents are witnessing a decline in student preparedness. Study after study shows that success in university is linked to the preparedness of students for the rigours of the university curriculum,” said Professor Brian E. Brown, OCUFA’s president, and a professor of visual arts at the University of Windsor.

Many respondents are also reporting that universities are establishing remedial courses for students who may be struggling with the demands of higher education.

Respondents most often reported the following challenges among first-year students:

Lower level of maturity
Poor research skills as evidenced by an over-reliance on Internet tools like Wikipedia as external research sources
Expectation of success without the requisite effort
Inability to learn independently

“The McGuinty Government is applauding itself for increased graduation rates from secondary school,” Brown said. “However, our secondary schools are poorly resourced and need new investments to enhance the classroom experience if our kids are going to thrive.”

Some 2,000 faculty association members, from 22 of Ontario’s 24 universities, responded to the OCUFA survey.