18 Oct 2013

American Samoa educator says many college hopefuls substandard

5:56 pm on 18 October 2013

An American Samoa educator says many students who are aiming to get into college are not meeting the required standards in English and Mathss.

The first ever Education Summit in American Samoa is being held over three days from Tuesday next week, to address a range of critical issues faced by the education system, such as low academic achievement.

The vice president of administrative services at the American Samoa Community College, Rose Vonne Pato told Beverley Tse many students are having to take a developmental course before they are ready for college.

ROSE VONNE PATO: They're coming ot the college not ready, not prepared with the college-level Reading, Writing and Maths.

BT: Why not? Why do you think they're coming unprepared?

RVP: There could be a lot of reasons, but one of the things is they are exiting high school without the necessary college prep skills.

BT: And why do you think that is? Is there something wrong with the education system, the way they're taught?

RVP: That could be a reason, but I think there are many other factors, and that's the whole purpose of the educational summit - to see what are these factors that may be playing into their low placement scores.

BT: Just how bad do you think the education system is in the territory? Is there a widespread low academic achievement level across the territory?

RVP: Definitely in Maths and English. That is a big problem in the Maths and English skills. It could be curriculum, it could be home environment, it could be instructional - there are a lot of factors.

BT: How about low teachers wages? Do you think that's a factor?

RVP: I don't think so. I don't think that low teacher salaries play into it.

BT: In terms of the summit, what are the key issues that will be discussed?

RVP: College readiness, parental involvement in education, community efforts in support of education. The planning committee, there are other people. We're just one group that will be presenting overall.

BT: Now, obviously these issues can't be solved overnight, but what are some of the things you think need to be done to address this low academic achievement?

RVP: One of the things we're doing is we have a new programme called College Accelerated Preparatory Programme and rather than having the students sit in Maths and English courses, developmental courses, for the whole semester, it's accelerated, so that they come in and take courses in a six-week accelerated programme. So it's getting them to get through quicker with more intense daily classes.