Better Approaches To Connecting Secondary School To Colleges

From PEN Newsblast

On the Degrees blog of the FHI 360 website, Rochelle Nichols-Solomon and Maud Abeel write that ensuring students finish college is widely agreed to be critical, yet fewer than half of all postsecondary students are on track to earn a credential, and others don’t start at all. The biggest stumbling block is academic preparation — a disconnect between what students learn in high school and what they’re expected to know for college. The disconnect can be disastrous for first-generation college-goers and low-income students, who often arrive at college with As and Bs from courses poorly aligned with college expectations. Even good high school students often lack study skills, self-directed work habits, critical thinking, analytical writing, ability to do rigorous research, or understanding of sophisticated mathematics. Students score poorly on college placement exams, end up in remedial or developmental courses, and eventually become too frustrated, discouraged, or broke to persevere to graduation. One effort to tighten connections between high school and college is the Citi Postsecondary Success Program (CPSP), a five-year initiative to increase college access and success for underrepresented students in Miami-Dade, San Francisco, and Philadelphia; FHI 360 and PEN serve as national intermediaries with technical support and lead funding from the Citi Foundation. Through asset analysis, high school and college staff look together at the knowledge and abilities that help a student transition successfully into college, informing instruction at both levels to help students succeed.
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