Strong self-esteem and personal ambition aren't lacking in American high school students, but the developed intellectual capacity to achieve those ambitions often is. A new study by the U.S. Department of Education shows an unsettling disjunction between the percentage of  12th graders intent on entering the halls of higher education and the percentage of those who are actually capable of doing the work once there. The report asserts that almost two-thirds of the surveyed students who expected to receive a bachelor's degree did not possess a good understanding of intermediate math skills, and that a third of them had not yet mastered "simple problem solving, requiring the understanding of low-level mathematics concepts." Ambitious academic goals are to be encouraged, but they must be tempered with an understanding of the hard work and responsibility necessary to achieve them.

"Coming Soon to a Classroom Near You," by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, October 10, 2005 

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