Topic: College and Career Readiness

Overview

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 at two- or four-year colleges. 

Increasing the percentage students who begin college without the need for remedial courses can reduce the cost of college and improve college graduation rates.

SREB's recommendations and programs to help states improve readiness for all students center on five essential elements:

1. Statewide Readiness Standards in Literacy and Math
2. Junior-Year Progress Assessments
3. Senior-Year Transitional Courses
4. Postsecondary Alignment and Use of the Readiness Standards and Assessments
5. State-Level Accountability for Increasing 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 at two- or four-year colleges. 

Increasing the percentage students who begin college without the need for remedial courses can reduce the cost of college and improve college graduation rates.

SREB’s recommendations and programs to help states improve readiness for all students center on five essential elements:

1. Statewide Readiness Standards in Literacy and Math
2. Junior-Year Progress Assessments
3. Senior-Year Transitional Courses
4. Postsecondary Alignment and Use of the Readiness Standards and Assessments
5. State-Level Accountability for Increasing Readiness

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 entry-level courses at various types of postsecondary institution.

2. Junior-Year Progress Assessments. All students’ progress toward achieving the readiness standards should be assessed no later than the junior year of high school.

3. Senior-Year Transitional Courses. Literacy and math transition courses should be offered, ans should be  required for students who are assessed as not ready for college by their senior year.

4. Postsecondary Alignment and Use of 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 should be accountable for increasing the readiness of high school graduates over time and for increasing the rate at which students who enter college college underprepared earn postsecondary credentials. Statewide accountability should apply at two-year and four-year institutions.

Publication Gene Bottoms Kirsten E. Sundell October 201712 pages(17V18)
This image is the cover of the Valuing Both Cs in College- and Career-Readiness Accountability Systems publication.

Valuing Both Cs in College- and Career-Readiness Accountability Systems
How states can use career pathways to close credential attainment and skills gaps.

This publication explores how state accountability systems currently address college readiness and academic and technical career readiness and offers recommendations and examples of policies and practices that incentivize and reward districts and schools for preparing more students to earn credentials and degrees in high-demand career fields.

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Blog post John Squires, Director, High School to College Readiness, SREB

How to Close the Readiness Gap Now for Our High School Seniors
Readiness Courses can keep students who are almost ready for college out of remedial classes

Get students the preparation they need during the high school years — not in college, when they have to pay for it.

Too many students graduate from high school thinking they’re ready for college, only to find themselves stuck in remedial classwork once they get there. This is a tragedy for the students. They believe — and why not? — that if they’re admitted to college they have what it takes to succeed there.

Publication February 20161 page(16V05)

Math Ready
Ready for College

SREB’s Math Ready course for the senior year of high school is designed to prepare students who aren’t yet ready for college math. This flier presents a quick overview of the eight units in the course.

Publication August 201420 pages(14E02)

The ACT and SAT: No Longer Just College Admission Tests

SREB states adopted key education policies that increased the proportion of seniors taking the ACT and SAT while they were in high school from 2008 to 2013. This brief covers state-by-state college testing policies, plus data on test-taking by racial and ethnic group.

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Publication

State Policies to Support a Statewide College- and Career-Readiness Agenda
Policy Brief

Since 2006, the Southern Regional Education Board has supported statewide college- and career readiness initiatives in many states across the region. SREB has worked side by side with states as they implemented policies and practices. This hands-on experience, including deep discussions with state policy-makers, educational leaders and state legislators, has led to clarifications and conclusions about the purpose and focus of these readiness initiatives and the kinds of state policies needed to support them.

Publication Dave SpenceNovember 20138 pages

State Policies to Support a Statewide College- and Career-Readiness Agenda
Essential Elements of State Policy for College Completion

A statewide college- and career-readiness agenda signals clearly and universally what knowledge and learning skills or readiness standards are essential for students to succeed in a substantial majority of postsecondary education programs. The standards need to be reinforced by a series of additional steps that include assessment, supplemental course work, and school accountability. SREB’s College- and Career-Readiness Action Agenda includes five essential components across the educational pipeline: 1. Adopt statewide readiness standards. 2. Assess high school juniors for readiness. 3. Offer transitional readiness courses for juniors assessed as underprepared. 4. Apply the standards in college placement. 5. Hold schools accountable.

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Publication Megan RootJanuary 20138 pages

Transitional Courses for College and Career Readiness
Essential Elements of State Policy for College Completion

Offering high school courses to prepare underprepared students for success in college or career training after graduation is a key strategy to reduce remediation, increase postsecondary completion and provide greater access to making a living wage. This Essential Elements policy brief details efforts in states across the nation, outlines questions policymakers need to address, and recommends 12 essential elements for an effective statewide policy to implement transitional courses.

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Publication Gene Bottoms 201122 pages (11E15)

A New Mission for the Middle Grades
Preparing Students for a Changing World

Report of the SREB Middle Grades Commission

The report of the SREB Middle Grades Commission issues an urgent call for states to improve achievement in the middle grades so  students are ready for success in rigorous high school courses and better prepared to graduate and proceed to college or technical training. A New Mission for the Middle Grades offers a comprehensive roadmap for change,