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The Progress of Education Reform: Defining College Readiness PDF - This issue of The Progress of Education Reform considers potential ways states might define “college readiness,” identifying for each approach potential benefits, potential drawbacks and key components to consider. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, Education Commission of the States, March 2012)...

12 for 2012 - 12 for 2012 is an ECS “read of the field,” built on our scrutiny of new reports and research, and our analysis of emerging drivers of change. The 12 policy areas do not represent an exhaustive list of the critical issues for the coming year, nor is this report intended to dictate your education policy priorities for 2012. Rather, 12 for 2012 is intended to stimulate thinking around how best to craft the “2.0” of powerful policy across the states. (ECS, 2012)...

Progress and Gaps in College Preparation Policy PDF - Stagnant college completion rates, high postsecondary remediation rates—and the high costs associated with postsecondary remediation—make clear that better alignment is needed between K-12 and postsecondary. This ECS Perspective sets forth four policy levers necessary for true reform to take place, and evaluates state progress to date in each of the four areas. (Michael W. Kirst, Stanford University, October 2009)...

Ensuring Successful Student Transitions from the Middle Grades to High School MS Word PDF - The 9th grade year is critical to students’ success in high school. This ECS PolicyBrief looks at research on the 9th-grade transition, some expert recommendations and examples of relevant policies in place in the states. (Kathy Christie and Kyle Zinth, Education Commission of the States, November 2008)...

The Progress of Education Reform: Counseling PDF - This issue of Progress of Education Reform takes a closer look at research related to:

  • The variation in access of college counseling across schools and the impact of schools, districts, postsecondary institutions and states on the availability and type of college counseling
  • The types of information traditionally underserved students need to prepare for postsecondary education
  • The varying types of guidance students receive based on their academic pathway or ethnic background.
(Jennifer Dounay, Education Commission of the States, June 2008)...

The Condition of College & Career Readiness- 2013 Students from Low-Income Families - Students from low-income families need college and career readiness policies that address their particular needs. A recent report found that 95 percent of students from low-income families wish to pursue some form of postsecondary education, compared to 87 percent of all students. However, only 59 percent of them immediately enrolled in postsecondary education, compared to 71 percent of all students. Only 20 percent of low-income students met at least three of the four ACT academic benchmarks, compared to 62 percent of students from high-income families. (ACT and the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships, July 2014)...

The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013 African American Students - Nearly all African American students (86 percent) report they aspire to postsecondary education, but 62 percent did not meet any of the four ACT college readiness benchmarks. Only 10 percent met three or more benchmarks. After high school, 63 percent immediately enroll in postsecondary education, but only 62 percent of those students who complete a year persist into the second year. These findings indicate a need to improve readiness for African American students and to address challenges to persistence. (ACT, March 2014)...

America's College Drop-Out Epidemic: Understanding the College Drop-Out Population - Over 40% of full time four-year college students fail to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years, and many never complete their education. Due to their low academic preparedness, about a third of four-year college drop-outs would have a higher chance of bachelor’s degree completion, had they begun college at a two-year institution.(Erin Dunlop Velez, CALDER, January 2014)...

The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013 First-Generation Students - Most first-generation college students aren't ready to succeed in key courses, according to ACT research. Fifty-two percent of them who took the ACT college readiness assessment met none of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks compared to 31% of all ACT-tested graduates who met none of the benchmarks. Only 9% of first-generation students met all four benchmarks, compared to 26% of graduates who met all benchmarks. Results underscore the importance of early monitoring and appropriate interventions. Students who reported neither parent attended any type of postsecondary training were classified as first-generation. (ACT and Council for Opportunity in Education, November 2013)...

Closing the Expectations Gap: 2013 Annual Report on the Alignment of State K-12 Policies and Practice with the Demands of College and Careers - This eighth annual 50-state report describes progress–and the lack of progress– in advancing state policies that will equip high school graduates with the knowledge and skills to succeed in college, careers, and citizenship. While all states now have readiness standards, fewer than half require students to learn those standards in time for graduation because they may refuse to take standards-embedded classes. No state has all four CCR prerequisites in standards, graduation requirements, assessments, and accountability. An appendix allows for state-by-state comparisons. (Achieve, November 2013)...

Predictors of Postsecondary Success - Intended to help policymakers and educators identify qualities that predict postsecondary success, this brief summarizes research on the subject from early childhood to high school. At the lower levels, predictors mostly related to leapfrogging to achievement at higher levels, for example kindergarten readiness predicting third-grade reading proficiency. At high school, there were numerous indicators and predictors reflecting a breadth of research. (Vanessa Hein, Becky Smerdon and Megan Sambolt, American Institutes for Research, November 2013)...

Rethinking 12th Grade: Preparing All Students for College Before College - Seven states and the District of Columbia have implemented initiatives to offer transition-to-college courses in high school: Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) is working with its 16 member states to embrace a college-readiness agenda and it has developed model transition courses available online to anyone. Tennessee offers a bridge math course which is expanding to 9,000 students this year who then will be eligible to take a tuition-free math class for dual credit. Since 2006, California students have been able to take an Early Assessment test; all those deemed college ready are guaranteed enrollment at any California State University and 70 community colleges. Nationwide, the least has been done for students with the greatest needs. (Jobs for the Future)...

College and Career Preparation - See the Institute for Education Sciences' What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) for recommendations on college and career preparation. The WWC reviews the research on the different programs, products, practices, and policies in education. Then, by focusing on the results from high-quality research, they try to answer the question “What works in education?” The goal is to provide educators with the information they need to make evidence-based decisions. (WWC, September 2013)...

The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013 - In 2013, 64% of all ACT-tested high school graduates met the English ACT College Readiness Benchmark, but results go downhill from there, according to an annual look at readiness. Forty-four percent met the mathematics and science benchmarks, 36% met the science benchmark and 26% met all four subjects. About 69% met at least one of the benchmarks while 31% didn’t meet any of them. Test scores dropped slightly between 2009 and 2013, with most of the decrease seen in 2013. However, about 22% more students took the ACT during this period and the tested group became more diverse. (ACT, August 2013)...

Advancing Competency-Based Pathways to College and Career Readiness - Designed to help states implement the Common Core by adopting competency-based pathways, this framework focuses on graduation requirements, assessment, and accountability. Students advance by demonstrating mastery and competencies are designed to include learning objectives that empower them. Assessments are to be meaningful learning experiences. The framework is flexible, recognizing that some states will want to keep the current system intact, while others will want to reimagine the system and opt for a whole different animal. (Achieve, July 2013)...

Bridging the Readiness Gap: Demystifiying Required Reading Levels for Postsecondary Pursuits - Defining "ready" as the ability to read and comprehend complex texts, the author argues that careful attention be paid to text complexity over the P-20 continuum. That involves quantifying text difficulty by Lexile, and classifying students by their Lexile scores. He offers a nifty chart by grades with goal Lexile scores before and after the Common Core State Standards. (Malbert Smith III, MetaMetrics, March 2013)...

Improving College Readiness in the Age of Common Core - Short, intensive summer bridge programs between the senior year of high school and college have positive short-term effects which eventually fade. Meanwhile, few students who get a GED move on to a postsecondary institution. MDRC suggests a "bridge" that starts earlier, the summer after high school's junior year, for example, and ends after the first year of college. MDRC also is working with CUNY's LaGuardia Community College to connect GED students with postsecondary education and careers through enhancements to the regular GED curriculum. (MDRC, March 2013)...

College and Career Readiness: The Importance of Early Learning - Advocating for a rich curriculum from Day One of early learning even if that richness doesn't produce a quick pay off in test scores, this report points out early learning allows student interests to develop at an early age, to grow over time, and provides a basis for learning in the later grades. Playing catchup is difficult indeed. Students "far off the track in eighth grade had only a 10% chance in reading, 6% chance in science, and 3% chance in mathematics of reaching ACT's College Readiness Benchmarks by twelfth grade," according to the report. Also covered are components of a strong early learning program and several common beliefs that hold quality programs back. (ACT, February 2013)...

Unprepared for College - A lively infographic on why only 40% of American college students finish college. (College@Home Blog, January 2013)...

Making Good on the College-Ready Promise: The Common Core and Higher Education Engagement MS Word - Education First has worked with the 10 Core to College states in the first year of their efforts to better align the work of the higher education and K12 sectors to implement the Common Core standards. This report highlights some of their early findings, best practices around faculty engagement and some likely next steps in their efforts. (Education First, October 2012)...

College Readiness Indicator Systems: Building Effective Supports for Students - The two-year-old College Readiness Indicator Systems (CRIS) Initiative addresses the crisis of students graduating from high school unready for college or careers. This compilation of essays written by researchers, school and college administrators offers a varied view of readiness systems including how to create one, how to build a CRIS pipeline for an elementary school feeding into a middle school feeding into high school, and how to support minority students in science. (Annenberg Institute for School Reform, 2012)...

Ready by Design: A College and Career Agenda for California - This document takes a look at California’s current accountability system, with the authors asserting it isn’t producing students who are graduating from high school ready for college and careers. The authors propose an alternative system for California that is focused on postsecondary readiness. Specifically, they argue that a new system should give educators detailed information about how their students fare after graduation so they could learn whether those students were ready for college or the workforce, and if they weren’t, how they could be served better. (Education Sector, June 2012)...

Do High-Stakes Placement Exams Predict College Success? - This paper analyzes one of the most commonly used placement exams, using data on over 42,000 first-time entrants to a large, urban community college system. Using both traditional correlation coefficients and decision-theoretic measures of placement accuracy and error rates, the author finds that placement exams are more predictive of success in math than in English, and more predictive of who is likely to do well in college-level coursework than of who is likely to fail. (CCRC, 2012) ...

Predicting Success in College: The Importance of Placement Tests and High School Transcripts - This paper uses student-level data from a statewide community college system to examine the validity of placement tests and high school information in predicting course grades and college performance. The authors find that while commonly used placement tests do not yield strong predictions of how students will perform in college, high school GPA has a strong association with college GPA and with college credit accumulation. (CCRC, 2012)...

Providing High School Feedback - This brief discusses the value of 'high school feedback,' where students' postsecondary success is reported back to the high schools from which they came. Included in the report is data on how many states are leveraging their data systems to provide high schools with feedback and highlights of promising practices found in some states. (Data Quality Campaign, 2011)...

Data That Matters: Giving High Schools Useful Feedback on Grads' Outcomes - Today, there is a growing agreement that students should leave high school "college- and career-ready." But what does that mean? And how can high schools tell if they are meeting the goal? Only 13% of high school educators receive reports of their graduates' academic performance in college. Most frequently, principals receive college readiness information through occasional anecdotes from former students and their families. Worse, 8% of educators reported they receive no information at all. (Anne Hyslop, Education Sector, November 2011)...

2011 ACT Condition and College and Career Readiness - Using the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks and ACT® test scores, the Condition of College & Career Readiness reports provide national and state snapshots of college readiness of the graduating seniors of the class of 2011 who took the ACT in high school. (American College Testing, August 2011)...

A Time for Deeper Learning: Preparing Students for a Changing World - Young people are being asked to learn more, process more, and produce more. Now more than ever the national's education system is being challenged by a technology-driven global economy requiring a skilled and deeply literate workforce. This brief examines deeper learning, explains its necessity and analyzes the growing body of global evidence supporting its wide scale implementation. (Alliance for Excellent Education, May 2011)...

Saving Now and Saving Later: How High School Reform Can Reduce the Nation's Wasted Remediation Dollars - 0f those who begin postsecondary studies, 43% will fail to earn a degree after six years. One of the major reasons is that far too many students receive inadequate preparation while in high school. This brief analyzes how improving America’s high schools and better preparing students for the challenges of both college and the modern workplace can dramatically reduce the amount of wasted dollars spent on remediation in college. (Alliance for Excellent Education, May 2011)...

The Nation's Report Card: America's High School Graduates-- Results of the 2009 NAEP High School Transcript Study - The report presents information about the types of courses that high school graduates in the class of 2009 took during high school, how many credits they earned and the grades they received. Information on the relationships between high school coursetaking records and performance in mathematics and science on the NAEP is also included. A greater percentage of 2009 graduates completed more challenging curriculum levels than 1990 or 2005 graduates. (National Center for Education Statistics, April 2011)...

Preparing Students for College and Careers--Part 2: Teaching Diverse Learners - Teaching Diverse Learners looks at differences in student needs, how teachers address them and how well students feel their needs are met. (MetLife, March 2011)...

MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Teaching Diverse Learners - This part of the MetLife Survey looks at student differences, how teachers address them, and how well students feel their needs are being met. (MetLife Foundation, March 2011)...

Preparing Students for College and Careers--Part 1: Clearing the Path - This document examines the importance of being college- and career-ready, what this level of preparation includes and what it may take to get there. (MetLife, 2011)...

A First Look at the Common Core and College and Career Readiness - This document provides an estimate of current student performance on the Common Core State Standards, using ACT college- and career-readiness data. The report offers both instructional and curricular support recommendations, as well as policy considerations for state and federal policymakers that can support teaching and learning of the Common Core. (American College Testing, December 2010)...

Many Florida Programs Enhance Students' Career and College Readiness - Like many other states and the federal government, Florida has implemented many programs and initiatives to enhance high school graduates' career and college readiness. OPPAGA was requested by the Florida Legislature to provide an overview of national and state initiatives that help ensure that high school graduates are prepared for college and careers. This report looks at national initiatives addressing career and college readiness, Florida initiatives addressing readiness, and options the Legislature could consider to enhance the readiness of Florida youth. (OPPAGA, November 2010)...

Mind the Gaps: How College Readiness Narrows Achievement Gaps in College Success - This study describes the current state of college readiness among high school students, and examines pre-college indicators that are proven effective in increasing readiness and success--specifically among underpresented student groups. This study identifies some of the academic behaviors that deter students from being ready and provides suggestions for getting and keeping students on target for college and career readiness. (ACT, September 2010)...

Beyond the Rhetoric: Improving College Readiness Through Coherent State Policy - This brief addresses the state policy dimensions of college readiness. It identifies the key issues and problems associated with the college readiness gap, which is a major impediment to increasing the numbers of college students who complete certificates or degrees. This policy brief also provides governors, legislators and state education leaders with specific steps they need to take to close the readiness gaps in their states. (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and the Southern Regional Education Board, June 2010)...

ACT National Curriculum Survey 2009 - ACT, Inc.’s National Curriculum Survey for 2009 sheds light on the gap between high school preparation and college expectations. It also details the specific subject-area knowledge and skills that are most important for students to learn to be ready for college-level coursework. The skills and knowledge that college instructors expect entering students to have are more focused and specific than what high school teachers view as important. The results also suggest that high school reading instruction needs to be improved, that content-area knowledge remains more important than “21st century student outcomes” and students headed more immediately to the workforce may not be receiving instruction to the same level as their college-bound peers, even though teachers agree that the knowledge and skills they need to master are fundamentally the same. (ACT, March 2010)...

College- and Career-Ready: Using Outcomes Data to Hold High Schools Accountable for Student Success - Most high schools are rated on only two measures: graduation rates and student scores on basic skills tests given in a single year. States can use college remediation needs of public high school students and other data systems to create richer, more accurate, more multi-dimensional measures of high school success. (Chad Aldeman, Education Sector, January 2010)...

Focusing on the Essentials for College and Career Readiness: Policy Implications of the ACT National Curriculum Survey Results 2009 - This report highlights findings of the ACT National Curriculum Survey 2009 that are particularly relevant to current education policy efforts. Key findings are highlighted followed by the implications of these findings for education policy and practice. (ACT, 2009)...

Helping Students Navigate the Path to College: What High Schools Can Do - With the effort to improve the college-going rate we must not only assure that students are academicallly prepared by the end of the 12th grade but also make students aware of the discrete steps they must take in high school to prepare for college. These steps include taking entrance exams, applying for college aid, submitting college applications and selecting a college. This practice guide offers recommendations on steps high schools can take to aid students and their parents in the process. (Mathematica Policy Research, Institute of Education Sciences, September 2009)...

Reinventing the Federal Role in Education: Supporting the Goal of College and Career Readiness for All Students - This brief makes several recommendations for how policymakers can improve upon NCLB as they begin the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Included on the list: 1) Establishing college and career readiness as the common goal for all students; and 2) Meaningful accountability for high school outcomes designed around common indicators of college and career readiness and high school graduation. (Alliance for Excellent Education, July 2009)...

Do “College-Preparatory” Courses Live Up to Their Labels? Using Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems to Assess the Rigor of Academic Courses - Putting all or nearly all high school students into college-preparatory high school courses will accomplish the desired goal of preparing students for college only if adequate steps are taken to prepare students in advance for success in the courses and to offer additional support to students who enter high school with gaps in their academic preparation. With a longitudinal data systems, states can monitor student academic results over time to see if these things are happening. (Data Quality Campaign, Chrys Dougherty, August 2008)...


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