Achieve has spent a decade relentlessly tracking and reporting on states’ progress in adopting “college- and career-ready” (CCR) policies and practices across multiple fronts. Sometimes we’ve found their reports too rosy, or at least too credulous, with a tendency to credit state assertions that they’re doing something rather than looking under the surface to see whether it’s really happening.
This year’s report is more solid, more fact-based—and more worrying. Consider, for example, its list of fourteen states that “still do not have any form of statewide graduation requirements that require or even suggest (as states with opt-in CCR courses of study do) that students take particular courses (or the content) so that they can graduate college and career ready.”
Pretty grim, no, this deep into the era of standards-based reform and mindful of our multi-year fixation on everybody emerging from the K–12 system ready for something respectable after high school?
Also worrying: Only thirteen states even collect district-level course requirements for high school graduation, and just three make public “the number of credits by subject area by district” required for graduation.
And this: “35 states use end-of-course exams [for some high-school subjects] to help ensure rigor and consistency statewide. However, these…assessments often fall short of measuring higher-level ELA/literacy or advanced algebra content.”
There’s plenty more here, much of it mildly encouraging by way of trends, but almost none of it truly reassuring when it comes to state-level seriousness about graduating kids from high school who are actually prepared for what follows.
Credit is due to Achieve for this year’s clear lens.
SOURCE: “Closing the Expectations Gap 2014,” Achieve, Inc. (January 2015).