Report Shows Progress On College readiness Policies

February 3rd, 2011

Achieve’s sixth annual “Closing the Expectations Gap” report, released today, shows that in the six years since the National Governors Association and Achieve co-sponsored the National Education Summit on high schools, the goal of aligning the expectations for high school graduates with the demands of college and the workplace is the new norm across the United States.

“The biggest change we have seen since the Summit has been the broad acceptance by the general public, in addition to policymakers and business and education leaders, that all students should graduate from high school college- and career- ready,” said Mike Cohen, Achieve’s president. “While support for the college- and career-ready agenda is widespread, state progress adopting the policies of this agenda has remained mixed.”

Achieve conducts an annual policy survey that asks all 50 states and the District of Columbia whether they have adopted standards, graduation requirements, assessments and accountability systems aligned to the expectations of two- and four-year colleges and employers. The national survey of state education leaders has measured the same areas of reform each year since the 2005 Summit and this year’s survey reveals the following results:

  • Standards: Today, 47 states and the District of Columbia have developed and adopted high school academic standards in English and mathematics that are aligned with college- and career-ready expectations. Much of the progress in standards in 2010 was the result of widespread adoption – in 44 states and DC – of the K-12 Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in mathematics and English language arts.
  • Graduation Requirements: Today, 20 states and the District of Columbia require all students to complete a college- and career-ready curriculum to earn a high school diploma. Florida and Utah were the two states to raise their graduation requirements to the college- and career-ready level in 2010.
  • Assessments: Today, 14 states administer college- and career-ready high school assessments capable of producing a readiness score that postsecondary institutions use to make placement decisions. In 2010, only one new state – Delaware – adopted a policy to administer a college- and career-ready test to its high school students.
  • P-20 Data Systems: Today, 22 states have operational P-20 longitudinal data systems that link states’ student-level K–12 data with similar data from their postsecondary systems and are matching such data annually. The matching of student level records began for the first time in six states in 2010: Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, New Mexico, New York and Virginia.

Accountability: While progress in this area has been slowest, 25 states have now incorporated at least one of four accountability indicators that Achieve has identified as critical to promoting college and career readiness. Only Texas meets Achieve’s criteria regarding the use of all indicators.

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