When I think about what created a buzz around high school-to-college-and-career issues this year, broader access and earlier readiness come to mind.
There was a big focus on helping disadvantaged students get on the path to postsecondary education with several summits sponsored by the White House on the topic in 2014. School counselors were highlighted as key players in making this goal a reality with the support of first lady Michelle Obama.
A big part of the access agenda revolved around affordability. The administration underscored the need for cost and outcome transparency with the development of a framework for a new college-rating system that will focus on value.
Also, this year there was a noticeable effort to raise the conversation about college and career readiness long before high school. New reports pointed to the need for early preparation and career guidance in the critical middle school years.
As for what attracted readers in 2014, I have the data experts at Education Week to thank for providing a list of the most-viewed College Bound posts:
The College Board’s announcement of the SAT redesign in March was the most popular item of the year and the release of the SAT test specifications in April drew a large audience. Interestingly, a Kaplan survey about how high school students didn’t realize the ACT is as widely accepted as the SAT by colleges was the second-most-read post.
Research from the University of Chicago about how keeping 9th grade students on track can be critical to high school graduation caught the attention of many College Board readers.
Everyone is eager for insight on what it takes to get into college, so it’s no surprise that results from a new survey from admissions counselors about what they value (academic rigor) when reviewing applications was among the top ten blogs for 2014.
Readers responded to the items about the focus on middle school as pivotal to high school success and the importance of teachers covering life skills alongside academics in the classroom.
Finally, rounding out the top ten most-viewed posts this year was an item showing the gaps in performance as high-achieving students from different socioeconomic and racial and ethnic backgrounds progress through high school, which loops back to the need for effective school counseling.
Looking in our crystal ball for 2015, it’s likely many of these issues of college access, affordability, equity, and early preparedness will continue to fill this blog. Thanks to all my sources for sharing their insight and I welcome your ideas for coverage in the new year.
For the big picture, see Ed Week’s most viewed education stories in 2014.
A version of this news article first appeared in the College Bound blog.