College Readiness

Today, the value of a college education has skyrocketed due to the amount of jobs focusing on adding value and improving systems instead of industrial and manual labor. Furthermore, with emerging economies such as China and India churning out an increasing amount of college graduates every year, the job environment will be exponentially more competitive for people looking to enter the job market.

Unfortunately, many students in the US education system are not graduating secondary schooling with the necessary skills needed to succeed in the university system today. Not only are some students dropping out of high school due to a lack of academic preparation, others are graduating with high school diplomas without having the adequate training that comes with the benefits of the degree.

This article seeks to illuminate the issues surrounding college readiness that students face today. You will find resources including recent news, extensive studies, and educational institutions to help develop a holistic view of the educational landscape today.

Recent News

  • The Broken Promise of College Readiness – CNN Education interview with education expert Steve Perry. Students with high school diplomas have not been prepared for the responsibilities conferred upon them. School systems must prepare them for these responsibilities to maximize the returns on investments in the education system.
  • Reformers Use New Ways to Tackle College Readiness – New York Times article on programs which help middle and high school students on the bubble of college readiness. The programs sent college professors to high schools to help these students gain extra help during school.
  • 2011 ACT Scores Show Problems with College Readiness – Newly released ACT scores show that only ¼ of the high school graduates who took the exam in 2011 were ready in all four sections of the test (English, reading, math, and science). Includes statistics on scoring differences based on subjects and demographics.
  • College Readiness Low Among State Graduates, Data Says – New York Times article focusing on college readiness of New York State high school graduates. Data was gathered as a state-wide initiative to realign standards with college readiness.

Research Studies

  • Redefining College Readiness (PDF) – Report prepared for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation by the Education Policy Improvement Center. Aims to develop an operational definition of college readiness to guide the education sector’s efforts to improve their curriculum.
  • College Readiness Begins in Middle School (PDF) – ACT’s policy report set to explore the early planning of college readiness by secondary education programs. Focuses on how parents, teachers, and policymakers can contribute to improve the current state of college readiness.
  • A Joint Responsibility Between K-12 and Postsecondary Education (PDF) – Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education report. Its policy recommendations are aimed at removing the disconnect between K-12 and postsecondary institutions.
  • Greater Expectations – American Association of Colleges and Universities report on the different factors contributing to higher education today. Given the increasing amount of college enrollment in the US, the report focuses on how secondary education affects the future success of college students.
  • Strengthening Pre-Collegiate Education in Community Colleges (PDF) – According to the study, over 90% of incoming, first-time community college students test below college levels in math and 70% below college levels in english and writing. Presents findings from California’s efforts in improving pre-collegiate education as a major policy focus.
  • Towards a More Comprehensive Conception of College Readiness (PDF) – Paper by the Educational Policy Improvement Center on creating a holistic definition of college readiness. Findings promote the inclusion of qualitative factors such as critical thinking and analysis skills in addition to test scores and grade point averages as a measure of readiness.
  • College Readiness For All (PDF) – A study on how UC Berkeley can contribute to the K-14 college readiness process. Provides recommendations for UC Berkeley to help small schools, teachers, and parents on improving the preparedness for students.
  • Assessment of College Readiness by California Community Colleges – Statistics on the college readiness of California Community College students in 2007. Results showed that the vast majority of students were not deemed ready to be accepted into such programs.
  • Preparing for the Future – A resource providing links to online discussions of improving college readiness. Includes free online tools to improve vocabulary, develop writing skills, and build mathematical foundations.
  • What Makes a Student College Ready? – A study following 38 students displaying the aspects of a college-ready student. Highlights four key strategies, including cognitive, content knowledge, self-management, and postsecondary knowledge.

Educational Institutions

  • College Readiness Consortium – Headed by the University of Minnesota, the Consortium works with K-12 educators to increase outreach for high school graduates looking to enter college. Has information on the University’s own partnerships and state-wide policies affecting higher education.
  • Montgomery County Public Schools 7 Keys to College Readiness – Set of guidelines set by the Montgomery County School District on improving the college readiness of students. Each step covers specific goals for different parts of the education process.
  • College Readiness Project – Washington State’s initiative to create a seamless education to the state’s education systems. Funded by legislation supported by Governor Gregoire, the initiative set out to define standards for the state’s reading and writing programs. A similar program was already under way for mathematics.
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – The Gates Foundation’s portal to improving overall college readiness. Includes reports and findings produced by the Foundation on nationwide college readiness.
  • Unlocking the Remedial Gate – Provides tips on improving student success in college. Suggests incorporating technology-driven approaches, aligning secondary and post-secondary school curriculum, and teaching real world skills instead of abstract ideas.
  • Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges – Washington State’s college readiness project. Serving as a resource for education-sector professionals and academics to present and discuss policy recommendations for the state of Washington.
  • Public Agenda: Discussion on College Readiness – Focuses on public policy affecting higher education today. The report suggests that parents and educational mentors play a major role in a student’s education and advocates for public outreach programs and funding to improve these areas.