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What Students Are Saying About College Readiness and What High Schools Can Do

Thursday, November 17, 2 p.m. ET
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 What Students Are Saying About College Readiness and What High Schools Can Do(11/17/2011) 
10:12
EdWeek Bryan: 
Good morning, folks, and welcome to today's chat, "What Students Are Saying About College Readiness and What High Schools Can Do," with content underwritten by the Lumina Foundation.

I've just opened the chat for questions, so please, start submitting yours below now. Then, come back and join us at 2 p.m. ET today when we get underway with our two guests.
Thursday November 17, 2011 10:12 EdWeek Bryan
1:54
EdWeek Bryan: 
Good afternoon, all. Today's chat on college readiness will kick off in just a few minutes. Keep submitting your questions down below, and we'll be getting underway shortly. Thank you!
Thursday November 17, 2011 1:54 EdWeek Bryan
2:01
Caralee Adams: 
Welcome everyone to our chat on college readiness. We are going to talk about what high schools can and should be doing to better prepare students to be successful in getting a degree.

As much as teenagers may grouse about tough classes in high school, many realize they need them. And as much as they want to do their own thing, many are eager for some guidance.

This fall, College Board released a survey taken one year after they graduated from high school. It showed that looking back, regret not taking more math, science, and writing-intensive coursework in high school. One of our guests today will be Peter Kauffmann, vice president of communications at the College Board, to discuss findings of the student voice survey.

Our other guest is Steve Schneider, a counselor at Sheboygan South High School and secondary-level vice president, American School Counselor Association. Steve has great insights about helping students find a career path. If we can help students find their passion, they are more likely to make it through college.
So, let’s get started. We have lots of good questions. First, let me ask each of our guests to introduce themselves and say hello. Steve….
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:01 Caralee Adams
2:01
Steve Schneider: 
Good afternoon, everyone. I'm looking forward to our dialogue.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:01 Steve Schneider
2:02
Peter Kauffmann: 
Good afternoon. Thank you to Ed Week for hosting this chat.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:02 Peter Kauffmann
2:03
Caralee Adams: 
Here's our first question, Steve:
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:03 Caralee Adams
2:03
[Comment From ChristinaChristina: ] 
Have high schools considered having college students come back and talk about some of these issues. Hearing about the importance of good preparation directly from college kids may help the high schoolers really make the connection.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:03 Christina
2:05
Steve Schneider: 
Christina, I think this is a fairly common practice for many high schools, especially around the holidays when the college students come home. I agree, high school students are keenly in tune to what these returning college students have to share about the college experience.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:05 Steve Schneider
2:05
Caralee Adams: 
Here's one for Peter...
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:05 Caralee Adams
2:06
[Comment From EmilyEmily: ] 
Do the college students who were surveyed say they wish they had taken harder classes in math? English? Or just more difficult classes in general?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:06 Emily
2:06
Peter Kauffmann: 
Both. Majorities of students who didn't go to a 4-year college now wish they had worked harder in high school. ...
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:06 Peter Kauffmann
2:07
Caralee Adams: 
Peter, let me give you a chance to explain the value of asking students about their opinion of school, as in the College Board survey?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:07 Caralee Adams
2:07
Peter Kauffmann: 
Four in nine graduates wish they had taken different and more challenging classes -- particularly in math ...
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:07 Peter Kauffmann
2:07
Peter Kauffmann: 
40% wish they had taken more math; 33% more science; 29% more writing.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:07 Peter Kauffmann
2:08
Peter Kauffmann: 
In terms of asking students for their thoughts -- we felt that so much is written about what kids need, but no one ever asks them for their opinion. And what we found was interesting. Kids appreciate the value of hard work.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:08 Peter Kauffmann
2:09
Caralee Adams: 
Interesting. I think there is a lot to learn from student voice.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:09 Caralee Adams
2:09
Caralee Adams: 
Here's another one for Steve.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:09 Caralee Adams
2:09
[Comment From KarenKaren: ] 
In many schools, the ratio of counselors to students is so high that students are lucky to get any time with the counselor. What advice can you give to students, especially those whose parents did not go to college, to help them figure out what they need to do to get into a college?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:09 Karen
2:10
Steve Schneider: 
I think one of the issues is finding a way to help students see the value of hard work while in high school, as opposed to valuing it in hindsight
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:10 Steve Schneider
2:11
Peter Kauffmann: 
If I can jump in here, the College Board does a lot of work dedicated to supporting college counselors -- because they ARE overworked and underresourced. Pleas use the following link to find out more: http://advocacy.collegeboard.org/college-preparation-access/national-office-school-counselor-advocacy-nosca
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:11 Peter Kauffmann
2:11
Caralee Adams: 
Thanks, Peter
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:11 Caralee Adams
2:11
[Comment From PamPam: ] 
For either Peter or Steve: Do you have agreement on what some of the major components of "college-readiness" are? I have several examples, but would like your opinions.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:11 Pam
2:12
Steve Schneider: 
Karen, your observation of the high counselor to student ratio is certainly an issue. The challenge of helping fist generation college-going students is helping them navigate through the system...
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:12 Steve Schneider
2:13
Peter Kauffmann: 
Re: first-generation college goers. One of the most interesting data points coming out of the survey was that "family" is listed as the prime source of guidance for helping in the college planning process ....
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:13 Peter Kauffmann
2:13
Steve Schneider: 
Most colleges and universities are very clear about entrance requirements, timelines, etc. Getting this kind of information to students is possible through various mediums, even with large caseloads...
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:13 Steve Schneider
2:14
Caralee Adams: 
Peter...what other sources of guidance for college did students in the survey list?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:14 Caralee Adams
2:15
Peter Kauffmann: 
Based on parents' education level, for students whose parents went to college, 71% rely on their parents for information and guidance. For kids with neither parent having attended college, just 48% rely on their parents for guidance ...
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:15 Peter Kauffmann
2:15
Steve Schneider: 
However, the logistics of accessing college is only part of the picture. Helping students determine what kind of post-secondary programming is most suitable to their career goals is a larger challenge.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:15 Steve Schneider
2:16
Peter Kauffmann: 
The most troubling part of that statistic is that that level of guidance and advice is not made up for anywhere else -- all other numbers are basically identical for both groups of students, in terms of relying on teachers, friends, guidance counselors, etc. Those kids whose parents did not attend college are not getting the same level of advice and guidance in the process.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:16 Peter Kauffmann
2:16
Caralee Adams: 
The counseling crunch is indeed a problem.

Steve, this might be a good point to talk about your thoughts on the need for students to have a career goal before college, can you speak to that?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:16 Caralee Adams
2:18
Steve Schneider: 
Caralee, in my experience, the question that comes before "Are you ready for college?" has always been, "What are you going to college for?" When a student is able to connect his or her career goal with a well defined educational pathway, the conversation about getting ready for college makes so much more sense...
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:18 Steve Schneider
2:19
Caralee Adams: 
Peter, was there anything in the survey that linked students have a goal or major with their success in college? Do you find the two are related as well?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:19 Caralee Adams
2:20
Peter Kauffmann: 
Our survey didn't explore that issue.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:20 Peter Kauffmann
2:20
[Comment From JenniferJennifer: ] 
Steve, do you see students' college aspirations matching their level of preparedness? Why is that the case?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:20 Jennifer
2:21
Steve Schneider: 
It helps direct the conversation toward questions like, "What kind of math do you need to be taking?" and "What kinds of skills do you need to be training in?"...
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:21 Steve Schneider
2:21
Caralee Adams: 
Going back for a clarification, Peter....
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:21 Caralee Adams
2:22
[Comment From jforresjforres: ] 
These stats (40% wish they'd taken more math, etc) are from the survey for College Board?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:22 jforres
2:22
Peter Kauffmann: 
Correct.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:22 Peter Kauffmann
2:22
Caralee Adams: 
This is an interesting one..
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:22 Caralee Adams
2:22
[Comment From DavidDavid: ] 
Should high schools be held accountable for their students' college retention and graduation rates?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:22 David
2:23
Peter Kauffmann: 
College readiness is a P-16 responsibility, from pre-school through college. We should all be accountable. Educators, policymakers, all of us.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:23 Peter Kauffmann
2:24
Caralee Adams: 
Steve, thoughts?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:24 Caralee Adams
2:25
Steve Schneider: 
Jennifer...there certainly are cases where a student may have aspirations to obtain a certain career, which would require a level of post-secondary education that may seem like a stretch...
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:25 Steve Schneider
2:25
Caralee Adams: 
Peter, you may know this through College Board research or Steve through working with students...
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:25 Caralee Adams
2:25
[Comment From DannyDanny: ] 
Is there a connection between specific courses and college success? Do students who take AP courses or math beyond Algebra II have a higher rate of sustainability than those who do not?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:25 Danny
2:27
Steve Schneider: 
oftentimes, this is because the student is not aware of alternative options for post-secondary education. They may believe that only a four year university is the pathway to take.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:27 Steve Schneider
2:27
Peter Kauffmann: 
Students who take rigorous courses do better in college. That means AP, IB, honors, etc. There is absolutely a connection. Students who take a core curriculum do better as well.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:27 Peter Kauffmann
2:28
[Comment From Jessica ForresterJessica Forrester: ] 
How can you measure college readiness? ACT scores cover the academic part, but how can we assess a more holistic view of college readiness?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:28 Jessica Forrester
2:28
Peter Kauffmann: 
There is no way of getting aroung the basics -- rigorous classes and hard work are still the best way to prepare for college success.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:28 Peter Kauffmann
2:28
Caralee Adams: 
Thoughts, Steve on Jessica's question about big-picture readiness beyond academics - what can counselors do?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:28 Caralee Adams
2:29
Steve Schneider: 
David...I agree with Peter. Our scope should be P-16. At the high school level, there is a responsibility to help students select the appropriate post-secondary educational pathway. I believe college graduation rates are directly related to students making misguided choices about their post-secondary education.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:29 Steve Schneider
2:30
Peter Kauffmann: 
The SAT is the only college admission exam that is aligned to NAEP, the nation's report card. But college readiness should always be thought of with a holistic view. The most valid predictor of college perfomance are four years of high school grades combined with SAT scores. But of course, standardized tests are only one measure of college readiness and should always be viewed in a holistic manner.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:30 Peter Kauffmann
2:30
[Comment From Matt MeenderingMatt Meendering: ] 
I am a high school principal in Iowa. We had our faculty send out 4-5 questions to a number of colleges in our area. The questions were curriculum based to faculty as to what they saw college freshmen lack by curricular area. Very favorable responses and enlightening.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:30 Matt Meendering
2:30
Caralee Adams: 
Thoughts on building communication bridges from h.s. to college, Steve?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:30 Caralee Adams
2:32
Steve Schneider: 
Jessica...your question brings up another interesting question, "Is college readiness only about academic performance?" I would argue that college readiness also includes how clear a student is about their purpose for going to college.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:32 Steve Schneider
2:33
Peter Kauffmann: 
Building communications bridges from high school to college is at the heart of what we try to do at the College Board. Our 6,000 member instititutions are drawn from high schools and colleges around the world. The Advanced Placement program is a great example of the success you can have when higher ed and K-12 experts work together.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:33 Peter Kauffmann
2:34
Steve Schneider: 
Matt...what a great idea! Helping instructors from the high schools and colleges communicate about student needs can help bring lots of issues into focus. That transition from high school to college oftentimes seems to be an area sorely lacking of attention.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:34 Steve Schneider
2:35
Caralee Adams: 
Along those lines, here's a note from a college administrator..
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:35 Caralee Adams
2:35
[Comment From CherylCheryl: ] 
Yes, as a College administrator I can say that we are very good at stating policy. But what needs to be done to help students be good learners?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:35 Cheryl
2:37
Steve Schneider: 
Cheryl...helping students connect what they are learning with real application is a concept that could help address the motivation and quality of work from students...
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:37 Steve Schneider
2:38
Caralee Adams: 
Those connections are important, but here's another view challenging the notion of the importance of a career focus early on...thoughts, either Steve or Peter?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:38 Caralee Adams
2:38
[Comment From MaudMaud: ] 
Isn't college a time to explore interests, to be certain one is choosing a career for which one is suited?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:38 Maud
2:38
Steve Schneider: 
...it seems this can be accomplished through Coop programs, off-campus learning opportunities, etc. I know that project based learning is getting a lot of attention at the secondary level these days.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:38 Steve Schneider
2:40
Caralee Adams: 
Peter, here's a question that I'm wondering if it was addressed in your survey about what it takes to be an effective and increasing standards...
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:40 Caralee Adams
2:40
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
These items primarily relate to understanding the importance of being prepared. Are there specifics on how to instruct, course rigor, changing core requirements, etc., to help them actually be preapred?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:40 Guest
2:40
Peter Kauffmann: 
I agree with the point that Maud makes. There are basic skills we need to prepare for college as well as for a career. You need to know how to write and express yourself. For many students, college is the place they explore and find what they want to be.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:40 Peter Kauffmann
2:41
Steve Schneider: 
Maud...college is a very expensive exploratory adventure. Certainly there is the flexibility to make changes in majors, areas of focus, etc. while in college. However, working with students in high school to do that type of exploratory work is critical. The hope is that a student chooses to go to a certain college because they understand how it relates to their career aspirations.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:41 Steve Schneider
2:42
Caralee Adams: 
Good insights from both of you....
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:42 Caralee Adams
2:43
Peter Kauffmann: 
The survey did not highlight specifics in terms of what it takes to become college ready. One interesting finding along these lines was that AP and IB students felt their courses were more difficult (83%), more worthwhile (82%) and more interesting (73%) than their other high school courses.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:43 Peter Kauffmann
2:43
Caralee Adams: 
Sorry, I slipped a question in the middle of that discussion....Peter, can you address the question at 2:40 about idea on improving instruction and standards and how that links to readiness>
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:43 Caralee Adams
2:43
Caralee Adams: 
OK - thanks.
Here's another one for Steve
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:43 Caralee Adams
2:43
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
With internal resources for college preparation becoming more and more limited, are high schools being more receptive to partnering with pre-college programs such as the Federal TRIO Upward Bound and Talent Search programs?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:43 Guest
2:47
Steve Schneider: 
In response to Guest at 2:43... I would hope that regardless of resources, high schools would remain open to programs like Upward Bound. As a school counselor, I recognize that the more exposure my students have to various resources, the better off they are...
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:47 Steve Schneider
2:48
Steve Schneider: 
...there are many stakeholders from many different perspectives involved in preparing high school students for their role as adults in our local communities.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:48 Steve Schneider
2:48
Caralee Adams: 
Thanks, Steve.

Peter, This might be a good time to share some other highlights of the College Board survey as they relate to our conversation....
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:48 Caralee Adams
2:49
EdWeek Bryan: 
We've had a number of folks asking for the link to the College Board survey. Here it is, for those who are curious:
http://media.collegeboard.com/homeOrg/content/pdf/One_Year_Out_deck_final.pdf
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:49 EdWeek Bryan
2:49
Peter Kauffmann: 
The surey helped shed some light on two key debates that have been swirling in the education community and on editorial pages across the country:

Debate #1 is between those folks who feel that US schools lack rigor and are falling behind international standards and those who feel US high schools are too stressful and place too much emphasis on getting into college.

Debate #2 is between those folks who feel college degrees are essential to an individual’s economic future and those who see a degree as antiquated and non-essential in the 21st century.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:49 Peter Kauffmann
2:49
Peter Kauffmann: 
First, recent high school graduates clearly see college as essential. One year out of high school graduation, an overwhelming majority (86%) feel that a college degree is worth the time and money – including a large majority not currently enrolled in college (76%). An overwhelming majority (90%) agree with the statement: “In today's world, high school is not enough, and nearly everybody needs to complete some kind of education or training after high school.”
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:49 Peter Kauffmann
2:50
Peter Kauffmann: 
Second, the majority of students felt that their college coursework was more difficult than expected, and many found themselves wishing that they had taken more math, more science and more writing in high school. Nearly half (47%) say, with the benefit of hindsight, they wish they had worked harder in high school, and more than a third (37%) say the requirements for graduating high school should be made more difficult.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:50 Peter Kauffmann
2:50
Caralee Adams: 
Thanks, Peter. I thought those findings were really enlightening.....Another question...
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:50 Caralee Adams
2:50
[Comment From HeatherHeather: ] 
What are people doing to help students during the summer between high school and college? Even when students are accepted and registered, we find many students don't actually make it to campus to enroll.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:50 Heather
2:52
Caralee Adams: 
Thoughts on summer programs to bridge the transition... Steve?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:52 Caralee Adams
2:53
Peter Kauffmann: 
I think Heather's point may tie in to another troubling trend, which is that roughly 25% of first year college students need remediation -- and one in seven of the students in our survey who went to college did not complete their first year.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:53 Peter Kauffmann
2:53
Steve Schneider: 
Heather...I like this question, and agree that it is an area that lacks attention. It seems that some form of "summer booster" would be a good idea to encourage students who are on the fence about actually attending a college they've been accepted to.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:53 Steve Schneider
2:54
Caralee Adams: 
Yes, remediation is a huge issue.

Thanks,

Regarding the College Board survey, a question for you Peter, from Heather....
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:54 Caralee Adams
2:54
[Comment From Heather RileyHeather Riley: ] 
A question: Do students surveyed wish they had gone to a 4 year school vs. 2 year?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:54 Heather Riley
2:55
Peter Kauffmann: 
We didn't differentiate between 2-year and 4-year on the survey.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:55 Peter Kauffmann
2:55
Caralee Adams: 
Ok - Thanks.

There is more talk of reaching down earlier to help boost college aspirations and form career plans...related question....
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:55 Caralee Adams
2:56
[Comment From NadineNadine: ] 
What can be done in the Middle School level? Are college fairs enough?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:56 Nadine
2:57
Steve Schneider: 
As we look at statistics like 1 in 7 college students not completing their first year, it sheds light on the issue that many high school students are making under-informed decisions about post-secondary schooling. This is where the help of professionals like school counselors at the high school level can help, so that students start off in a direction they are likely to complete after graduation.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:57 Steve Schneider
2:58
Peter Kauffmann: 
You can't overstate the value of creating a college-going culture as early as possible. That doesn't mean pressure, just an expectation that any student willing to work hard should have the opportunity to pursue post-secondary education. But we need to go further than that -- with rigorous courses as part of a core curriculum.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:58 Peter Kauffmann
2:58
Caralee Adams: 
Much of our conversation has been about college readiness, but it's good to mention career skills are similar...
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:58 Caralee Adams
2:59
[Comment From GeneGene: ] 
While it is all well and good to have high schools prepare students for college, "college" can mean so many different things. The same skills are not required across the spectrum of higher ed. How do you prepare students for such a diverse range of "college" expectations?
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:59 Gene
2:59
Steve Schneider: 
Nadine...college fairs are good for exposure to options. However, it's a little like walking onto a car lot and looking at every model without having any criteria for selection. I think Career fairs and career exploration at the middle schools can be made even more impactful if coupled with college fairs.
Thursday November 17, 2011 2:59 Steve Schneider
3:00
Caralee Adams: 
It's about 3 p.m. Thanks EVERYONE for the great questions and thanks to our experts for their insights.
Thursday November 17, 2011 3:00 Caralee Adams
3:00
Caralee Adams: 
one more response from steve to gene
Thursday November 17, 2011 3:00 Caralee Adams
3:01
Peter Kauffmann: 
A key part of college planning is finding the right fit for each student. Gene is absolutely correct -- there is a diverse rang eof expectations. We shouldn't push every student into University X ... we should be giving them the tools, guidance and support they need to find the right fit for them. For some, that's a big university. For others, a community college. And for others, other types of vocational traning.
Thursday November 17, 2011 3:01 Peter Kauffmann
3:02
EdWeek Bryan: 
That's a great way to wrap us up today, Peter.

Thank you, Caralee, for doing a great job moderating today. Thanks to our two guests, Peter and Steve, to the Lumina Foundation for providing underwriting for the content of this chat, and a special thanks to all of you for the great questions today.

We'll have a transcript of today's available at the same link later this afternoon, so please, feel free to share this conversation with your colleagues. Thanks again, all, and have a great rest of the day!
Thursday November 17, 2011 3:02 EdWeek Bryan
3:03
Steve Schneider: 
Gene...you are correct, a cookie-cutter approach to college readiness is not a good practice. However, there are some skills that all colleges are going to require. Math skills (although at various levels depending on program of study), reading and writing skills at a high level, reasoning and problem-solving skills that have been developed through rigorous practice.
Thursday November 17, 2011 3:03 Steve Schneider
3:03
Caralee Adams: 

Thanks, all!
Thursday November 17, 2011 3:03 Caralee Adams
3:03
EdWeek Bryan: 
Whoops, sorry about that, Steve. Thanks again, all, and have a great day!
Thursday November 17, 2011 3:03 EdWeek Bryan
3:04
 

 
 
 

What Students Are Saying About College Readiness and What High Schools Can Do

Thursday, November 17, 2 p.m. ET

Underwriting for the content of this chat has been provided by The Lumina Foundation.

Students recently surveyed by the College Board one year after graduating from high school voiced regret about not taking more difficult courses to better prepare themselves for college. This chat reflected on the students’ perceptions and included a discussion of what high schools can do to help pupils focus on career goals and encourage them to be more ambitious with their course selection.

Guests:
Peter Kauffmann, vice president of communications, College Board
Steve Schneider, school counselor, Sheboygan South High School, Wis., and secondary-level vice president, American School Counselor Association

Caralee Adams, contributing writer, Education Week, moderated this chat.


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