Preparing the Next Generation of IT Pros

For some time now, the number of American students entering computer science has been in decline.

Experts often point to college as the place to remedy this problem and stock the IT infrastructure with a sufficient workforce. But education provider Pearson is going back even further.

“The division lines between high school and college are beginning to blur a little bit,” said Greg Tobin, Pearson’s president of mathematics and statistics, who points out how sharply the United States’ ranking for students completing college in six years or less has fallen.

“If you look at the stats, our completion rate for students in college has dropped to 18th in the world. We used to be first and now we’re 18th out of 29 counties that report out. One of the reasons is that students arrive in college increasingly unprepared.”

According to Tobin, students are ill-prepared in reading, writing and mathematics. Pearson has targeted mathematics specifically for improvement.

“One of greatest predictors of whether or not a student will proceed to college and graduation is whether or not they complete three or more years of mathematics in high school,” he said.

For that reason, Pearson has sponsored a yearly International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics (ICTCM) for the past 21 years. This year’s conference was held in March.

“The focus of the conference has been exclusively on how technology can improve student performance in mathematics,” Tobin said, noting that when the conference began, “technology meant the graphing calculator.”…



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