Work on building your own bridge from high school to college

More news that points to the need for better college prep . . .

Recently, College Board (creators of the SAT) published a piece reporting that just 43% of SAT-takers in the class of ’12 possess “the level of academic preparedness associated with a high likelihood of college success.” (Read the article here.)

ACT, purveyors of the other major college entrance exam in the U.S., released similar findings in their August report The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2012 (read the story in Education Week, “ACT Finds Most Students Still Not Ready for College,” here).

Something that struck me in both stories is that the number of students taking these tests is at an all-time high; many in that number would be first-generation college students or do not speak English as their first language. Also, the ACT is mandatory in some states for all high school juniors (raising the question, as Professor Michael Kirst in the Education Week article notes, of how much those students applied themselves to the test). Sobering as the headlines may sound, such information about the test-taking pool is important to keep in mind.

Plus, there is good news for the studious: both organizations note students who take a more challenging curriculum in high school do perform better on the tests (and, I’ll wager, they perform better in the college classroom).

Even so, add these reports to the stack of evidence bolstering what we in higher ed see every day: students entering college, all too frequently, simply are not prepared to make the grade.

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