Tag: College Readiness Assessments In High School
Concern over high school graduates being unprepared for college has educators and policymakers looking for ways to identify learning gaps earlier. A review by the Community College Research Center finds some form of early-college-readiness assessments are offered in 38 states, and 29 states have interventions to help reduce the need for remedial coursework for incoming college freshman
Based on a review of literature and on interviews with individuals involved in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) nationally and in Washington State, Florida, and Kentucky, this NCPR paper outlines the development of the CCSS and the CCSS-aligned assessments, the involvement of higher education representatives in their design and implementation, and how the CCSS and the aligned assessments can be used to support the mission of community colleges.
Learn more and download the report at: http://www.postsecondaryresearch.org
Education leaders across the country are faced with a growing phenomenon: too many students are not college-ready when they leave high school.
A new paper, reporting on research under way by the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at the Stanford University School of Education, details the implementation of a College Readiness Indicator System framework, or CRIS, designed to significantly increase the number of students who graduate high school ready to succeed in college.
The paper appears in the fall edition of the journal Voices in Urban Education, which is a special issue on CRIS. “Many school districts use Early Warning Systems based on academic measures such as course credits and GPA to identify students at risk of dropping out or not being college-eligible,” said the paper’s co-author, Gardner Center researcher Oded Gurantz. “With CRIS, we are adding measurements of the skills, competencies, and attitudes needed to stay the course and attain a postsecondary degree.” The other co-author, Graciela Borsato, is also a researcher at the Gardner Center.
The new findings come midway in a national, three-year study taking place in five urban school districts, and they identify key factors that influence the speed and depth at which districts can build their CRIS.
The CRIS initiative was launched in August 2010 with a $3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gardner Center is leading the initiative in partnership with the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. More recently, the Stanford and Brown researchers have begun to work closely on the project with the Consortium on Chicago School Research, which has also been funded by the Gates Foundation to develop and test CRIS-related tools based on their work in Chicago Public Schools.
The need for CRIS arose out of a growing awareness that a high school diploma does not ensure college readiness. CRIS aims to address that problem. It enables school administrators to concentrate on more than just students’ academic preparedness when assessing college readiness, by also including indicators of “college knowledge,” the knowledge that enables students to access and navigate college, and “academic tenacity,” the underlying beliefs and attitudes that drive student achievement.
CRIS is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach to college readiness but, rather, an approach based on a menu of indicators from which districts can select those best attuned to their local context. All indicators in the CRIS menu are variables that have a consistent and predictable relationship with college readiness; can be influenced through actions under the purview of K-12 teachers and administrators; and can be measured at the individual (student), setting (classroom), and system (district) levels.
For example, the paper cited how one district chose a CRIS indicator that involved tracking students’ completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which offers a quick read of students’ college knowledge at particular schools. Another district began using an indicator of “academic press” — the extent to which teachers press students for effort, perseverance and rigor — to help them gauge tenacity.
In addition to the menu of indicators, CRIS includes a Cycle of Inquiry tool to help districts think through the conditions that need to be in place for effective use of their indicators. Districts accustomed to collecting data that assess student performance at the end of the school year find that the CRIS Cycle of Inquiry encourages them to engage earlier with students before they go off track. The first two years of this study produced valuable lessons related to successful implementation including the need for acceptance and “buy-in” from a wide range of school stakeholders, and the staff and technical resource capacity to undertake the program from development to evaluation.
“Districts will develop a stronger CRIS if the indicators align with their strategic plans and internal capacity,” the co-authors Gurantz and Borsato wrote, emphasizing that CRIS is about more than gathering information. “Ultimately, collecting more data will not lead to better outcomes for youth unless a system is in place that helps turn those data into meaningful action,” they added.
In the third year of the study, the researchers are looking to help each of the participating districts to fine-tune a CRIS that boosts students’ postsecondary success.
Nancy Mancini is the communications manager at the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at the Stanford University School of Education.
Career Mapping Eyed to Prepare Students for College
About half of all states mandate that schools help create individual or student learning plans, and most others have optional programs. The practice is picking up momentum with the increased emphasis on college completion, which research shows is more likely when students take rigorous courses and have a career goal. But these career maps take an investment in technology and training.
In a profile of California’s Early Assessment Program, Catherine Gewertz in Education Week writes that the program has brought together K-12 and higher education to create a test that sends an early signal to high school seniors about their college readiness, allowing those who meet the mark to go right into credit-bearing coursework as college freshmen, skipping remedial classes. The program has a suite of courses to bring lagging 12th graders up to college-level, as well as training for pre-service and in-service teachers. Though the program has been widely praised since the test was first given in 2004, the program has generated a confounding mix of results. There are early signs that it reduces the need for college remediation: one study found that students at one California State University campus who had taken the EAP — regardless of their scores — were 4 percentage points to 6 percentage points less likely to require remediation than those who hadn’t. Yet remediation rates at CSU remain largely unchanged in the past six years. It may be that by the time students get the news that they are not college-ready — when they’re seniors — it’s often too late to rearrange their class schedules. Many students, also, are too far short of the mark to catch up in just one year.
Read more: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/01/20/18eap_ep.h30.html?tkn=PTRFctgnxpXXCBZEu9LUxQ7c4%2FDS7uC0qAdh&cmp=clp-sb-ascd
Source: PEN Newsblast