Topic: College and Career Readiness
Today’s workplace requires most Americans to have some form of education beyond high school. Yet more than half of high school students are not graduating well-prepared to be successful in credit-bearing, entry-level courses in colleges or technical schools.
SREB has emphasized the critical need to strengthen students’ readiness to succeed after high school and, in recent years, has intensified efforts to support member states in improving students’ preparation to be successful in entry-level college courses. To provide states with specific, action-oriented guidance, SREB developed a readiness agenda with a set of essential elements to help states improve students’ readiness for both college and career.
SREB’s Agenda for College and Career Readiness
1. Statewide Readiness Standards in Literacy and Math. There should be statewide standards that relate to success in college degree programs and another set of standards applicable to career programs. Both sets should be developed based on empirical evidence of what it takes to succeed in various forms of postsecondary education.
2. Junior-Year Progress Assessments. All students progress in achieving readiness and postsecondary performance at levels that empirically predict success in first-year degree course work should be assessed no later than the junior year.
3. Senior-Year Transitional Courses. Literacy and math transition courses should be provided and required for students assessed as not ready for college by their senior year. By increasing the flow of students from high school to college who do not need remediation, the cost of college can be reduced and college graduation rates can be positively impacted.
4. Postsecondary Alignment and Use of the Statewide Readiness Standards and Assessments. In addition to working with K-12 to empirically establish readiness standards in literacy and math, postsecondary education should honor results of the junior-year progress assessments in placing entering students. Institutions should recognize successful completion of senior-year transition courses and place students directly in credit-bearing courses when they enter college.
5. State-Level Accountability for Increasing Readiness. Postsecondary education and K-12, as a whole statewide, should be accountable for increasing the readiness of high school graduates over time and for increasing the rate at which students entering college not ready earn postsecondary credentials. Such state-level, statewide accountability should be directed at both career-oriented and college degree programs.