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California’s public schools have some of the strongest content standards in the country. Yet many students who have come through the state’s school system are failing placement examinations when they get to California colleges. Instead of taking college-level English courses, they are shunted off into remedial classes.
When a group of high school educators met with their local universities to address the problem, they found a surprising explanation. The students had excelled at what they were taught. But what they were taught had very little to do with what those students would need when they entered college.
“Students weren’t prepared for college because their high school English classes were teaching them something entirely different from what the college expected them to learn,” say Bill Tucker and Anne Hyslop in a new Education Sector report. Ready by Design: A College and Career Agenda for California takes a look at why California’s current accountability system isn’t producing students who are graduating from high school ready for college and careers . . . and proposes a better alternative.
Tucker and Hyslop suggest that California can do much better. They propose a system that is “truly focused on postsecondary readiness.” Specifically, they argue that a new system should give educators “detailed information about how their students fare after graduation so they could learn whether those students were ready for college or the workforce, and if they weren’t, how they could be served better.”
California already has a strong foundation for creating a more useful accountability system. “The data, tools, and models to build a world-class system of education around college and career readiness are already at hand. What California needs now is leadership, resolve, and a sense of urgency to build on the work of individual districts and schools and take these efforts to scale,” the report concludes.
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