Can illiterate Students Graduate from High School?

Topics: High school, Graduation, Functional illiteracy Pages: 3 (913 words) Published: January 21, 2014

According to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, “14 percent of American adults can't read, and 19 percent of high school graduates can't read.” What’s more, the number of functionally illiterate adults is increasing by approximately two and one quarter million persons each year. Why does this condition exist? There are four primary reasons students might graduate from high school without knowing how to read. There could be additional factors such as geographical factors, individual disabilities, gender bias, inadequate facilities and poverty; however, illiteracy continues to have these four main causes: cheating on the exams, social promotion, a kind of special talent and proficiency at memorizing examinations.

The first strategy to mention is cheating. As John Corcoran, a former high school and head of a multi-million dollar business but couldn’t read due to dyslexic, used to cheat on the examinations, explains, “I was like a cat burglar, and the jewels were the degree”(Feeney). Like Corcoran, students cheat in may ways. Some of them copy from others; some take out their textbooks or reference books to copy; some copy from small pieces of paper on which they had prepared the answer for the exams; still some use the modern communication tools such as an Iphone or Ipad. No one likes to fail, neither do illiterate students; therefore, they regard cheating as a short cuts to pass their exams to earn a high school diploma.

Another way that illiterate students graduate from high school is thanks to social promotion, the practice of promoting a student to the next grade only at the end of the current school year, regardless of when or whether they learn the required knowledge. This allows them to keep them with their peers by age, protect their self-esteem and promote the students who are weak in one subject on the basis of strength in the other areas(Cooper). For instance, we didn’t have social...

Cited: Coopert Kenneth. “Pupils Sweat Out The ‘Big Test ‘.” The Washington Post August 1, 1999
Brailsford Karen. “Reader’s Block.” People August 9, 1999
Feeney Donna. “The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read.” Biography Magazine October, 1999
Samuelson Robert. “Teenagers in Dreamland.” The Los Angeles Times
April 21, 1989
According to September 6,2013, article in the Huff Post, “The U.S. Illiteracy Rate Hasn 't Changed In 10 Years”
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