Expect more and you will get more. High expectations are important for everyone-for the poorly prepared, for those unwilling to exert themselves, and for the bright and well motivated. Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when teachers and institutions hold high expectations of themselves and make extra efforts.
Some examples: In many colleges and universities, students with poor past records or test scores do extraordinary work. Sometimes they outperform students with good preparation. The University of Wisconsin-Parkside has communicated high expectations for underprepared high school students by bringing them to the university for workshops in academic subjects, study skills, test taking, and time management. In order to reinforce high expectations, the program involves parents and high school counselors.
The University of California, Berkeley introduced an honors program in the sciences for under-prepared minority students; a growing number of community colleges are establishing general honors programs for minorities. Special programs like these help. But most important are the day-to-day, week-in and week-out expectations students and faculty hold for themselves and for each other in all their classes.