Crisis at the core

The New York Times (NYT) reports that the American College Testing Program (ACT) determined from the test scores in 2005 of high school graduates that less than 25% of high school graduates are proficient in English, Reading, Math and Science to succeed in college. ACT attributes the poor showing to a crisis in the high school core curriculum:
1. The broad array of courses offered in our high schools and the varying course sequences that students can complete make very different contributions to postsecondary readiness.

2. Students do not always take those courses and course sequences that contribute most to postsecondary readiness.

3. The lack of rigor of the high school curriculum (expressed in terms of graduation requirements, curriculum depth, and alignment with the knowledge and skills required for successful transition to postsecondary education) does not result in all students being adequately prepared for college success.
ACT further recommends:
1. Increase postsecondary readiness by requiring that all students take specific college preparatory course sequences in English, mathematics, science, and foreign language.

2.Improve the rigor of high school coursework with a greater focus on in-depth content coverage and considerably greater secondary-to-postsecondary curriculum alignment.
In a similar news release in 2004, ACT felt that policymakers, business and community leaders, parents, and students as well as educators must be involved in the process to improve the high school core curriculum.

Courses Count: Preparing Students for Postsecondary Success
(available in PDF, 3MB, from ACT)

See also,
College Readiness Begins in Middle School
(available in PDF, 500K, from ACT)

Crisis at the Core: Preparing All Students for College and Work
(available in PDF, 655K, from ACT; Executive Summary also in PDF, 110K)



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