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Everyone’s Getting Straight A’s: Fewer High School Grads Enrolling in College

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May 10, 2013 07:00 pm


The Alliance for Excellent Education’s newest e-newsletter, “Straight A’s” is online. You can read the full articles from this issue here, or short synopses below. As always, if you would like to receive Straight A’s in your inbox, please email

Sixty-six percent of high school graduates from the Class of 2012 were enrolled in colleges or universities in October 2012, a slight decline from the 68.3 percent rate one year earlier for the Class of 2011, according to an April 17 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The college enrollment rate was higher for young women (71.3 percent) than for young men (61.3 percent). College Enrollment Rate Drops for High School Graduates

Although the national unemployment rate ticked down slightly from 7.6 percent in March to 7.5 percent in April, the unemployment rate for individuals aged twenty-five years and older without a high school diploma increased from 11.1 percent to 11.6 percent, according to the May 3 jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment Rate Increases for High School Dropouts Aged Twenty-Five and Older

A large gap persists between how prepared high school teachers believe their graduating students are for college-level course work and what college instructors expect their first-year students to know, according to the 2012 ACT National Curriculum Survey. The report, Policy Implications on Preparing for Higher Standards, finds that while improved standards—such as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) or ACT’s College Readiness Standards—are intended to close this gap, states, districts, schools, and teachers need to ensure they are prepared to teach college- and career-ready standards. The report offers policy recommendations to assist states in their preparation. College- and Career-Ready Standards Can Help Close Perception Gaps on Student Preparedness

In a competency-based education system, a student advances from grade-to-grade based on mastery of course content, not on the number of days spent in the classroom. A new policy brief from KnowledgeWorks examines the growing national movement toward a competency-based education and highlights key barriers within the federal accountability and assessment systems that pose a challenge to this work. The brief, An Emerging Federal Role for Competency Education, is the first in a series from KnowledgeWorks to help policymakers define the appropriate role for the federal government supporting competency education in the nation’s K–12 schools. An Emerging Federal Role for Competency Education

Released on January 22, 2013 by the Alliance for Excellent Education, Strengthening High School Teaching and Learning in New Hampshire’s Competency-Based System, profiles two high schools in New Hampshire that moved away from “seat time” toward a competency-based system. The report also examines the changes that were necessary to make competency-based advancement an important part of New Hampshire’s strategy for implementing the Common Core State Standards and ensuring that students graduate ready for college and a career. Additional Resources on Competency-Based Education

On April 30, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) released a series of documents, including assessment blueprints and evidence statement tables, for the English language arts and mathematics assessments set to debut in 2014–15. The documents were created to help educators and the general public better understand the design of the PARCC assessments. Along with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, PARCC is working to create assessments that are aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Updates from PARCC


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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.