Investigating the Impact of School Curricula on Student’s Readiness for Higher Education: A Study among School Leaving Students in a Private School in Sharjah

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Schools should be a transitional and preparatory stage for college; thus, its curriculum must be one that paves the way for a student to be fully prepared for college requirements in any major chosen. Today’s competitive and ever-changing socio-economic environment calls for adopting future-oriented learning and teaching techniques that can better prepare students for college and the workplace. However, curriculum content in schools is geared towards tests, not real-world applicability, or interest from students. Most schools still adopt a flawed system that was designed decades ago and is no longer able to meet the demands of a fast-moving society that is both technologically and culturally different than before. Policies like ‘’ Race to the Top’’ and common core have pressured schools and teachers to “teach the test” with little to no regard to the relevance of the content or whether it ever measures anything worth measuring. With UAE’s National Agenda and its vision of 2021, there is emphasis not only on “No Child left Behind Act but also on college-and-career-readiness. One of the main parameters of the Agenda’s success is that Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum accentuated on is that no senior should do foundation year in college. As a result, many high schools adopted an academically rigorous curriculum and stringent accountability measures in hopes of increasing the likelihood of students graduating from high school college-readiness. Nevertheless, such core curriculums and one-size-fits-all standardized tests did not prove to be the right solution for students to be college-ready. In response to this situation, this research examines the issue of college-readiness as it relates to the concept of academic – preparedness. The study used a mixed approach and is complemented with an exploratory research design. The population for the study was a high school as well as 2 universities in Sharjah. The data collected and analyzed revealed several interesting findings that ensure the plethora of previous studies that college-readiness literature has shed light on.
career readiness, freshmen, school curricula, Common Core State Standards, United Arab Emirates (UAE), National Agenda