Friday, January 07, 2005

Texas Students Prepared Well for Life After High School

By April Castro
The Associated Press

AUSTIN - Texas is one of only three states that require high school students to take the math and English course curriculum that best prepares them for college and the work force, a new survey has found.

The survey, released Monday by the nonprofit Achieve Inc. based in Washington, D.C., examined state curriculum requirements as they relate to English and math benchmarks deemed necessary for students to compete successfully beyond high school.

It found that "shockingly few" students are prepared for success after high school, largely because "no state requires its graduates to take the courses that reflect the real-world demands of work and postsecondary education."

Matt Gandal, Achieve's executive director, said only three states -- Arkansas, Indiana and Texas -- have made or will soon make college preparatory courses the norm for all students.

He said students in other states leave school unprepared to compete.

The recommended curriculum in Texas -- Algebra I and II, geometry and four years of grade-level English -- became the default course selection for this year's ninth-grade students. To take a less demanding course load, students and their parents must opt out of the recommended curriculum.

Students had been automatically enrolled in the less-demanding curriculum unless they specified the recommended college prep courses.

The survey recommended that states require all students to take a common college and work-preparatory curriculum in math and English.

The survey is part of the American Diploma Project, which was created in part by Achieve to establish benchmarks in the knowledge and skills required for students to succeed in college and in careers.

"Arkansas, Indiana and Texas are leading the way, requiring students to opt out of a college- and work-preparatory curriculum, rather than opt in," according to the report.

Gandal acknowledged, however, that the actual course work could differ drastically between two classrooms for the same course and encouraged states to look at the content of the courses offered rather than just the course title.

Reprinted from the TCTA Web site || Location:

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