What knowledge and skills do students need for college?
By Sterling C. Lloyd | Ed Week
June 11, 2009
Policymakers from across the ideological spectrum affirm the benefits of a college education. Few campaign speeches are completed without a pledge to help more people secure them. Despite such enthusiasm, the backdrop for policy debates continues to be formed by a host of disconcerting statistics about the college readiness and college-completion rates of American students.
The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 42 percent of entering students at two-year postsecondary institutions enroll in remedial courses, for example. And the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranks the United States just 12th among developed nations in the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds with college degrees.
Defining College Readiness
Twenty states spell out skills and knowledge students need to be college-ready. In those states, readiness expectations are communicated using one or more of the following strategies: courses, skills, standards, and tests. Fourteen states include academic-content standards in their definitions of college readiness, and 13 recommend or require college-preparatory courses. Fewer states use definitions that incorporate specific test scores or rely on narrative descriptions of skills needed for college success. Thirteen of the 20 states use multiple strategies to define readiness.