Closing the Expectations Gap 2007
Achieve, Inc. deserves kudos for this "second annual" survey of states' progress "on the alignment of high school policies with the demands of college and work," an outgrowth of the American Diploma Project and the 2005 high school summit. But applaud softly, please, because the data presented here don't show huge progress and some of them indicate progress in directions that may not bear scrutiny. Get beyond the executive summary and you will encounter glum news about how few states are really aligning their high school exit and college entrance expectations (in the sense of common "cut scores," not shared aspirational standards); how few have continuous data systems that bridge the K-12 to postsecondary divide; how few hold their high schools to account for the subsequent performance of their graduates; and more. Consider, for example, that in just one of fifty states (New York) do "postsecondary institutions find the state's end-of-course high school tests... challenging enough to determine whether incoming students are prepared to enroll in credit-bearing courses." Yes I know, it's barely two years since the summit--but it's 24 years since A Nation at Risk, which cast most of its recommendations in terms of beefing up high school expectations and (vaguely) linking them to college requirements. Achieve does good work and we at Fordham are proud of our affiliation with the American Diploma Project, but the evidence presented in this report suggests mighty slow progress by states in long-overdue directions. Read it here.
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