NewsHour Extra Feature Stories
NewsHour Extra features stories can help students identify and interpret
key issues in current events. This activity anticipates one class period,
but the follow-up essay might be assigned as homework, or in another period.
Warm Up: Use initiating
questions to introduce the topic and find out how much your students know.
Main Activity: Have
students read NewsHour Extra's feature story and answer the questions
on the reading comprehension handout.
Discussion: Use discussion
questions to encourage students to think about how the issues outlined
in the story affect their lives and express and debate different opinions.
can write an 500-word editorial on the topic expressing their views and
send it to NewsHour Extra [email@example.com]
for possible publication.
are graded on their answers to reading comprehension questions and/or
Stress College-Bound Seniors: 12/22/03
1. Are you, or someone
you know, worried about applying to college?
2. What is the most stressful part of senior year?
Reading Comprehension Questions:
(click here for printout)
1. What did the National
Association for College Admissions Counseling survey find?
among high school seniors applying to college was higher for students
in the class of 2002 then it had been in previous years-- part of a
of the 772 guidance counselors surveyed by NACAC reported that the increase
in stress among students was largely related to "getting into the
2. How does the news
media contribute the stress of applying to college?
a much wider media buzz about college admissions now," Hingle said.
"When the cover of Time magazine is about the SATs then students
see what a big picture they are part of, and they do not feel competitive
as U.S. News and World Report, which has famously ranked colleges and
universities since 1983, could fill in another piece of this puzzle.
started in the early '80s and I think shortly after that started there
was a greater focus by the American public on the top 25," Blackburn
attention on rankings has added to the stress, according to Blackburn.
But, he adds, the rankings are "certainly here to stay."
3. What do supporters
say about the ranking system?
At a recent seminar
on the campus of the University of Wisconsin Madison the director of
data research at U.S. News and World Report's ranking issue, Robert
Morse, responded to comments made about its methods and consequences.
the attacks of educators who say the rankings are an insufficient measure
of a university's real character, saying that the rankings perform a
valuable service to students.
are measures of academic quality," he said, according to the Madison
4. What do some critics
say about the rankings?
of Wisconsin's admission director Robert Seltzer agreed that the rankings
could be a good tool. He said, however, that there was too much emphasis
on their importance.
students who really do think there's a difference between No. 12 and
No. 15," Seltzer said.
Paul Boyer, author
of "College Rankings Exposed," said that the annual U.S. News
survey and other ranking guides have transformed choosing a college
into a ratings game.
He said colleges
are forced to spend money on "superficial changes" that will
raise their rating, at the expense of real innovation in the undergraduate
at many levels and keeps getting worse every year," Boyer said.
and Extension Activity (more research might be needed):
1. Do you think stressing out over college applications is good or bad?
2. Do you think the U.S. News and World Report rankings are useful?
3. How will you, or did you, choose which colleges to apply to?
Send your answers, in essay
form, to firstname.lastname@example.org for