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STATE BARRIERS UNDERMINE STUDENT ASPIRATIONS: New Report Finds Disconnect Between High School Graduation and Success in College

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"88 percent of eighth graders expect to participate in some form of postsecondary education, and approximately 70 percent of high school graduates actually do go to college within two years of graduating."

A new report finds that “88 percent of eighth graders expect to participate in some form of postsecondary education, and approximately 70 percent of high school graduates actually do go to college within two years of graduating.” These high percentages demonstrate an overwhelming desire among students to continue their education past high school. However, less than 12 percent of high school students actually know what curriculum they need to prepare themselves for the rigors of postsecondary education. Many students are shocked to discover they need remediation at the beginning of their postsecondary education only three months after graduating from high school.

Betraying the College Dream: How Disconnected K-12 and Postsecondary Education Systems Undermine Student Aspirations, released by Stanford University’s Bridge Project, found that state high school graduation requirements do not align with entrance and placement requirements in higher education institutions. Andrea Venezia, an author of the paper, offered several reasons for this disconnect, including little communication between the state education agencies, which set the graduation standards, and institutions of higher education.

The study focused on two-year “broad access postsecondary institutions” because these schools admit almost all students who apply, comprise about 85 percent of all postsecondary schools, and educate approximately 80 percent of the nation’s first-year college students. Sixty-three percent of students who enter these ‘broad access’ schools need remediation compared to 40 percent in more selective four-year institutions.

Quite often state graduation requirements and state exit exams do not set high enough standards to get their graduates prepared for college. As a result, many students require several courses of remediation before they can take classes toward a degree and often drop out before even completing courses at a two-year institution. Those students who were most in need of remediation were also most likely to quit school.

The report recommends that the state education agencies reform their systems to prepare their students better for college. It also said that institutions of higher education need to actively publicize their academic standards so that state education agencies can raise their standards for graduation and provide the necessary courses to better prepare their students for college courses. Such a modification would transform the high school senior year from a slump into an academically rigorous and intellectually stimulating time. Underlying all of these recommendations is an increased federal role that would expand grant money to stimulate more state-level K-16 policymaking and provide the necessary governance and accountability standards.

Learn more about the report at: http://www.stanford.edu/group/bridgeproject/publications.html

Betraying the College Dream: How Disconnected K-12 and Postsecondary Education Systems Undermine Student Aspirations, released by Stanford University’s Bridge Project, found that state high school graduation requirements do not align with entrance and placement requirements in higher education institutions. Andrea Venezia, an author of the paper, offered several reasons for this disconnect, including little communication between the state education agencies, which set the graduation standards, and institutions of higher education.

The study focused on two-year “broad access postsecondary institutions” because these schools admit almost all students who apply, comprise about 85 percent of all postsecondary schools, and educate approximately 80 percent of the nation’s first-year college students. Sixty-three percent of students who enter these ‘broad access’ schools need remediation compared to 40 percent in more selective four-year institutions.

Quite often state graduation requirements and state exit exams do not set high enough standards to get their graduates prepared for college. As a result, many students require several courses of remediation before they can take classes toward a degree and often drop out before even completing courses at a two-year institution. Those students who were most in need of remediation were also most likely to quit school.

The report recommends that the state education agencies reform their systems to prepare their students better for college. It also said that institutions of higher education need to actively publicize their academic standards so that state education agencies can raise their standards for graduation and provide the necessary courses to better prepare their students for college courses. Such a modification would transform the high school senior year from a slump into an academically rigorous and intellectually stimulating time. Underlying all of these recommendations is an increased federal role that would expand grant money to stimulate more state-level K-16 policymaking and provide the necessary governance and accountability standards.

Learn more about the report at: http://www.stanford.edu/group/bridgeproject/publications.html

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