Articles tagged with college readiness

Making progress preparing more students for college

A similar review with a summary of additional findings can be found on NSBA’s Center for Public Education’s blog The Edifier.

There was a slight increase in the percent of 2011 high school graduates ready for college English, math, social science, and science courses, according to ACT’s The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2011 report released today. 

It is good news that the percent of students considered “college ready” increased, especially since it has been increasing for several years. This shows our high schools are graduating more students ready to succeed in college. This is likely because more students are taking more rigorous courses. As the Center’s Chasing the College Acceptance Letter found, those students who take more rigorous courses increase their chances of getting into a good college at a greater rate than students who simply improve their grades.

However, the results also show that progress has been slow and gaps between groups of students persist. The progress needs to accelerate exponentially to close the gap between the percent of students who want to go onto earn a 4-year degree (83 percent) and those who are “college ready” (25 percent) so they are adequately prepared for such college level work when they enter college. Yes, high schools are on the right track, but there is much more work to be done to truly meet the needs of their students.

For more information on how to use college entrance exam scores to evaluate your school, check out the Center’s Date First website.

Jim Hull|August 17th, 2011|Categories: Center for Public Education, High Schools, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Reports, Student Achievement|Tags: , , |

Increasing the number of college grads; just another lofty goal?

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Photo courtesy of Stockvault.net

As a nation, we don’t have a great track record when it comes to meeting lofty educational goals. Consider Goal 1 of Goals 2000, the Clinton-era education act: “All children in America will start school ready to learn.”

Or Goal 2: “The high school graduation rate will increase to 90 percent.”

Or Goal 5: “United States students will be first in the world in mathematics and science achievement.”

And then there’s that elusive ideal enshrined in the very title of the most recent ESEA: “No Child Left Behind.”

Now President Obama has issued an ambitious goal of his own: By 2020, the United States will lead the world in the proportion of college graduates.

Is it doable, or just another fantasy? At a recent forum at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington, D.C., a senior administration official expressed mild optimism.

“I think there is a really sound basis for the goal,” said James Kvaal, a member of the White House National Economic Council.

Today, about 40 percent of U.S. adults have bachelor’s degrees, a percentage that has been slowly increasing over the years. To meet Obama’s goal, that rate would have to rise to somewhere between 55 percent and 60 percent, depending on what happens in the rest of the world, Kvaal said.

Much of the work will involve making post-secondary education more affordable and improving supports for minority college students, whose numbers must rise if the plan is to have any hope of success. But one of the biggest challenges — perhaps the biggest — is improving the college readiness of high school graduates.
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Naomi Dillon|June 2nd, 2009|Categories: American School Board Journal, Student Achievement|Tags: , , |

College readiness to be the AIM in Arizona

I applaud Arizona lawmakers for trying to get to the heart of the matter, when it comes to what it takes to keep U.S. students competitive in a global economy.

Last week, State Rep. Rich Crandall, a Republican from Mesa, and State. Rep. David Lujan, a Democrat from Phoenix, proposed a bill that would replace the Arizona Instrustment to Measure Standards or AIMS, with college readinessness as the major determinant of whether a school adequately prepared a student for the future.

Crandall argued that the standardized test high school students must pass in order to graduate is based on 10th-grade questions, hence you have a snapshot of what a student can do at the 10th-grade level but not beyond.

And what Arizona students have been able to do after graduation hasn’t been too impressive, according to a new study by the Arizona Community Foundation. The College Readiness Report tracked 2006 high school graduates from Maricopa County who enrolled directly into the community college or one of the state’s universities.

Researchers found that about half of the students needed remedial math instruction and about a quarter needed back-to-basics help in English. All of the students had passed the AIMS test, finished their coursework, and earned a diploma.

The report’s findings is what drove Crandall and Lujan to propose a pilot program that would still look at graduation rates and AIMS scores in evaluating a school’s performance, but would rely more heavily on the number of college bound students who had to take remedial classes.

“People really don’t know what the AIMS test measures,” Lujan told the Arizona Republic. “Looking at how many students have to take remedial classes when they get to college, I think that’s a really good indicator.”

Naturally, there will be opponents who argue not all kids go to college, which is true. But shouldn’t all students be prepared for it any way?

Naomi Dillon, Senior Editor

Naomi Dillon|February 2nd, 2009|Categories: American School Board Journal, Assessment, Governance, Student Achievement|Tags: , , |
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