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Report shows high school graduates enter college unprepared

Experts recommend ways to better prepare high school graduates for a higher education

A new report details methods to solve the disparity between high school exit exams and college entrance requirements.

High school students should be exposed to college-level courses early on, and they should learn in technology-rich classrooms that redesign the learning process to emphasize problem-solving, critical thinking, and other higher-order skills, in order to help close the achievement gap between high school and college, according to a new report that highlights high school graduates’ lack of preparedness for the rigors of a college education.

Entitled “Closing the Gap between High School and College,” the report comes from the Blackboard Institute, an independent research organization within the ed-tech company Blackboard Inc. While it’s obvious that Blackboard has a financial stake in advocating for more use of technology in the classroom, the report was based on interviews with education experts from K-12 schools, community colleges, research institutions, and nonprofit organizations.

The report says that of the students who enter college, nearly a third drop out after their first year—and 50 percent never graduate. Many students enter college not prepared for higher education, the report notes; at community colleges, nearly a million students reportedly take remedial courses each year at a cost of $1.4 billion.

The report details new practices to help improve college success and close the achievement gap from high school to college, including training teachers to optimize students’ college success, assessing college preparation early and often, and adopting national standards that are more aligned with collegiate entry requirements.

For more on college readiness, see these recent stories:

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“For a long time, high schools really weren’t designed with the expectation that all students would need to be ready for some sort of postsecondary education, and so the curriculum and standards weren’t designed that way,” said Joel Vargas, vice president of Jobs for the Future and leader of the “High School Through College” team.

“I think what you’ve seen is increasing realization that the standards between high school and college are not aligned,” he said.

In creating the report, the Blackboard Institute interviewed 24 education experts to determine why there is a disparity between high school exit and college entrance requirements, which leads to many high school students not continuing on to higher education, achieving a low rate of college success, or dropping out later.

Chris Dede, Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies at Harvard University, said they are several reasons for the gap in college readiness.

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Comment:

  1. george.troutfetter

    January 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    It would be valuable to interview people who actually worked on a day to day basis with high school students and their parents rather then “experts” who have not been in a high school classroom in a teaching roll or spent time talking with real parents of high school students or the students themselves. Too many of the people consulted are good about telling people what to do but could not do it themselves. Our biggest challenge is trying to get parents and students to understand that they must take initiative and that A in the AP class is not ar right because the student is “smart” and always had A’s before but something to be earned with hard work.

  2. george.troutfetter

    January 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    It would be valuable to interview people who actually worked on a day to day basis with high school students and their parents rather then “experts” who have not been in a high school classroom in a teaching roll or spent time talking with real parents of high school students or the students themselves. Too many of the people consulted are good about telling people what to do but could not do it themselves. Our biggest challenge is trying to get parents and students to understand that they must take initiative and that A in the AP class is not ar right because the student is “smart” and always had A’s before but something to be earned with hard work.


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