Closing the Expectations Gap 2008
More than one-third of states have adopted standards and graduation requirements designed to better prepare young people for college and careers, concludes a report released last week by the Washington-based Achieve Inc.
The nonprofit group, established by governors and business leaders, has been tracking state efforts to align high school policies with the demands of postsecondary education and the workplace since the 2005 National Education Summit on High Schools.
According to the report, 19 states now have high school standards aligned with postsecondary expectations, eight more than a year ago. Twenty-six other states report that they are in the process of aligning their standards or plan to do so. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia require all students to complete a college- and career-ready curriculum to earn a diploma, six more than last year; 12 other states report plans to adopt such requirements.
But Matthew Gandal, the executive vice president of Achieve, said there’s been less progress on testing and accountability. Only nine states give college-readiness tests to all high school students as part of their state testing systems, typically the sat or act college-admissions test. And only four states hold high schools accountable for the percent of students they graduate in four years and whether those students earn a college- and career-ready diploma. “This is the area where we’ve seen the least progress in the last couple of years,” Mr. Gandal said.
Eight states report they have data systems that can track individual students’ progress from pre-kindergarten into higher education, although 39 report they are developing such pre-K-20 data systems.
A version of this article appeared in the February 27, 2008 edition of Education Week