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College Readiness Prescription List

N o. Prescriptio n Rationale Based on the notion of promoting a college going culture in high school, small learning communities (SLC) help foster relationships between all students, their parents, teachers, advisors, and mentors, and act as a form of academic socialization to equip them with the tools needed to succeed in college. As SLC are used throughout high school, the social structure allows students to play a more active role in their learning, thus helping them grow to be independent learners. This active role involves the creation of a support community and culture through the accessible social networks SLC promote. Furthermore, an ‘ethic of knowledge and care’ through the intimacy of SLC produces a set of standards that encourage positive academic outcomes, scaffolds difficult concepts, and addresses challenges and ways to overcome those challenges within a group setting. Whether developed as formal SLC in 9th grade, or informally as study groups, SLC provide the social support to help students develop college ready habits of the mind such as intellectual openness and inquisitiveness as well as time-management and other general skills. Additionally, SLC provide a social information network that informs student members on developing college preparedness strategies by encouraging participation and appropriate course enrollment. As part of the K-16 school system, SLC are the individuals involved in what an education entails working together within a congruent social community. Every student has the right to learn about what college entails, but many are misinformed about the college culture. This misinformation can lead to poor choices in high school and perpetuate the idea that access to college is beyond reach. It is especially important for not only the college-bound students, but also first-generation and minority students. All high school • • • • • • • • Source Holland, Farmer, & Hinton, 2009 Schneider, 2007 Darling-Hammond, Ancess & Ort, 2002

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Creating Small High School Learning Communities

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Provide High Schools Students with Information

Conley, 2005 Kirst & Venezia, 2004 Meeder, H., 2006 Reid & Moore, 2008 Schramm & Sagawa, 1

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Rationale students should receive clear information on college knowledge: admission standards, college choice, cost, financial aid, academic culture, and selfadvocacy. When students and their parents are provided with proper college cultural information, they are more likely to develop focus and direction to ultimately obtain post-secondary credentials. Knowledge such as how to create post-secondary plans, how to complete financial aid forms, and how to apply to college encourage students to make clearer choices while in high school. Unfortunately, students most often, consult with their teachers on college information, but their teachers are not always up to date on all postsecondary programs. When students are provided with a strong signal on college academic performance expectations throughout high school, they may be able to make better choices regarding their academic preparedness. For instance, college academic readiness information would encourage high school students to take more challenging courses in high school, than to just merely meet high school graduation requirements, or take courses that are perceived to make college applications look good. Student academic emphasis, therefore, should be focused on becoming college ready (being able to succeed in college) as opposed to being college eligible (able to be accepted by a college as judged by course name, GPA, and standardized test scores). This change in students’ outlook would make enrollment in courses such as AP classes become more focused on developing intellectual curiosity and habits of the mind, and not just be a means to the end of strengthening college applications. Psychologists affirm that high school seniors are in a profound stage of differentiation as they prepare to make the transition from childhood to adulthood, so it is important to give them the option to participate in the

Source 2008 Venezia & Kirst, 2005

on the College Culture

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Develop College Outreach Initiatives Communicati ng Academics

Adelman, 2006 Duffett & Farkas, 2009 Roderick, Nagaoka & Coca, 2009 Venezia & Kirst, 2005

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Implement Leadership Training of

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Schramm & Sagawa, 2008 Dreis & Rehage, 2008 2

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Rationale experiences to develop their leadership skills. While providing students with clear information on college expectations and performance, it is also crucial for preparing them to be college ready. Training influential seniors on leadership to build a college going culture is a good practice that combines leadership and college performance development. The welltrained influential seniors, who have experience with dual enrollment coursework, could influence their peers, guide younger students in making appropriate academic choices, build a college going culture, and additionally, function as academic leaders, tutors, facilitators, and at times teachers. These seniors can also benefit from these activities by developing their own leadership skills, and making their senior year more productive based on the leadership program. College readiness curriculum standards are specifically defined knowledge and skills which can be used as a frame of reference for success in an entry-level college courses and act as the foundation for college ready curriculum. The standards include specific knowledge and skills students should at least be familiar with in order to succeed in college or a career. Standards help regulate grading by utilizing a set of criteria-based exit indicators to diagnostically inform students, parents, and teachers how well prepared a student is for college coursework. School districts can adopt and adapt current standards into their curriculum, or work with vertical teams consisting of secondary and post-secondary faculties to create their own set of standards. Existing college readiness standards are research based and arranged by discipline (see American Diploma Project and Standards for Success). When high school curriculum is aligned with the standards, students are most likely able to enter into a college without having to take remedial coursework, thus passing college placement exams and completing their degree in a timely manner. The pathway is • • • •

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Influential Seniors to Help Build a CollegeGoing Culture

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Adopt or Create College Readiness Curriculum Standards

Adelman, 2006 Conley, 2003, 2005, 2007 Meeder, 2006 National Governors Association, Council of Chief State School Officer, Achieve, 2008

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Rationale clear: all students, when provided with a college readiness standards based curriculum, are provided with coursework that is steeped in the notion of being ‘college ready’. This singular pathway clearly signals to students, parents, and teachers the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in either college or a career helping integrate an educational system. Summer Learning Camps offer students firsthand college learning experience acting as a good transition between high school graduation and the first year of college. Overall, there are four main activities: personalized academic tutoring and instruction in mathematics, science, and/or reading/language competencies; math and science exploration in a number of different fields; leadership training, and college life experiences. The camps provide students stimulating academic learning opportunity; foster students’ leadership skills, responsible behaviors and social skills; develop and promote students’ career and educational aspirations; and help students develop early awareness about the need to plan for college (e.g. academic requirement, admission standards, and financial aid resources). Dual enrollment programs provide high school students actual college courses, and offer simultaneous high school and postsecondary credits. These challenging programs engage high school juniors and seniors in more rigorous study while easing the transition from high school to the next level. In particular, the programs give students from families without a college-going history the confidence that they can do college work. Additionally, the advance credits students earn while in high school usually cost less than the same courses taken by college students and save students additional money by shortening their time in reaching their • • •

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Enroll Students in Summer College Learning Camps

Adelman, 2006 Beer, 2008 Compact for Success, 2009

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Encourage Dual Enrollment for Every High School Student

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Adelman, 2006 Cunningham & Mathews, 2007 Darling-Hammond, Ancess & Ort, 2002 Karp, 2007 Learner & Brand, 2006 McCauly, 2007 Reid & Moore, 2008 4

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Rationale postsecondary goal. These programs are also a partial cure for what many educators call the wasted senior year. A particular study indicates that when students enroll in college with accumulated credits, and subsequently finish their first year with an accumulated 20 credit hours, they have the highest chance of obtaining a bachelors degree in four years Today’s economic environment requires highly skilled workers. Students need strong skills to be ready for the postsecondary education and entry into the high-skilled work place. A lot of researches indicate the fact that enrollment in cooperative education classes and involvement in internships improves student learning and skill development, affective outcomes, and career prospects, and therefore prepares students for both a postsecondary education and career. When students apply knowledge to the workplace, they can see firsthand the academic relevance of the skills they need to develop for a career, and have a better understanding of what it means to be “career ready”. The workplace learning opportunities can also help students develop their soft skill, like good work habits and social competence, which in labor market are as important as academic skills. •

Source Taking Promising High School Practices to Scale: Challenges for Oregon in Service delivery and Governance, 2008 Adelman, 2006 Hyslop, 2006 Rosenbaum, 2003

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Offer Students Workplace Learning Opportunitie s

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Utilize Early Diagnostic College Readiness Assessment in High Schools

Most universities admit students first, and then test them to see if they have the reading, writing, and mathematics skills needed for placement in college-level study. Over one-half of the high school graduates entering postsecondary institutions do not meet placement standards and need to take at least one remedial course. Enrolling in remedial work increases the time and money spent toward earning a degree. According to the research and many states’ years’ long practice, most

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Adelman, 2004 Early AssessmentAccuplacer, 2009 Early Assessment Program, 2008 Kirst & Venezia, 2006 MME, 2009 5

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Rationale students who improve their skills in the junior and senior year can pass the college placement exams and thus bypass any remedial courses. Early assessment can include college placement exams or minimum competency exams with specific information on how to develop the skills for missed questions. Math and English skills should be emphasized, and the testing should be criteria based. Such tests can be given during junior year of high school. Students are encouraged to take early assessment program and practice placement exams. These tests inform students on the importance of placement tests, notify students and parents on how well prepared students are for college-level work, and provide students with an early indication of college readiness proficiency from early in high school. The tests are diagnostic, they offer data to address students learning and performance gaps, assist educators in further decisionmaking, and provide students opportunity for additional preparation in higher grade. •

Source NJ Steps Re-designing Education in New Jersey for the 21st century, 2008

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Develop College Readiness Learning Plans for Students

According to the research, the learning plan plays a key role in advising components of a student education, and helps secondary students better focus their coursework on individual goals as they prepare for postsecondary studies and careers. The learning plan can also be implemented as a tool to monitor student progress, while informing students, counselors, teachers and parents on progress towards college readiness. Students who receive the learning plan will have a customized plan and support system to serve as a guide as they navigate through their educational experience in the high schools and postsecondary institutions. So, the school counselors should develop learning plan for students that is designed to serve as a student’s personal guide to help them set leaning goals based on academic and career interest and become good students. This education-career learning planning should be started early, at the middle-school level (8th and 9th grade) and act as a

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Adelman, 2006 Early College High School, 2009 Reid & Moore, 2008 Trusty, 2004

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Rationale continuous diagnostic guide. Senior Seminars bridge the gap between high school and college. Aligned to Knowledge and Skills for University Success Standards (licensed by the College Board), senior Seminars are designed for students who rank in the academic middle 50%, aiming at preparing students for what they will be expected to know in college. Courses begin in 9th grade or earlier, and are designed by a team of high school and higher education faculty. The courses offer those students who may not want to take AP or Honors, but plan to attend a community college or university challenging curriculum learning opportunities in a comfortable and supportive high school environment. Here are some core components of Senior Seminars: a faster paced curriculum; emphasis on writing, feedback, editing and rewriting; clear grading expectations and detailed scoring rubrics; key outcomes that are measurable; an emphasis on the development of habits of mind, such as analytical thinking and intellectual curiosity; frequent evaluation and feedback from external sources, the teacher and peers; financial aid applications, encouragement, and support. Examples of college level work provide students a tool to compare their knowledge and skill level against college level work. In essence, the work examples demonstrate the output of the college readiness system by showing examples of the types of challenges and intellectual rigor students should expect to master before entering into a college classroom. Educators may also benefit from the examples as part of high school curriculum guides. Acting as anchor assignments, the practical application of example work may function as a scaffolding tool that teachers can use to assist students in developing the capabilities to perform in a postsecondary environment. Ideally, example assignments should include

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CEPR, 2007 Conley, 2005, 2007, 2008 Darling-Hammand, Ancess & Ort, 2002

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Create Senior Seminar for High School Students

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Provide Students with Examples of College Level Work

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Darling-Hammand, Ancess & Ort, 2002 Holland & Farmer-Hinton, 2009 Schneider, 2007

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Rationale a rough grading spectrum, showing grading criteria of both high and low quality student work.

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Uncategorized Utilize key technological tools for academic tasks in middle and high school Incorporate more noncognitive competencies into high school curriculum Help students develop time-management skills within an academic context Incorporate cognitive cross-disciplinary skills into all high school curriculum

Working independently with the technology in research, writing, preparing presentations, etc. equips students with the capabilities to do college level assignments Non-cognitive behaviors are soft skills such as work habits, self-advocacy, and social skills. These skills are needed for not only college level learning, but post high school careers

Conley, 2007

Rosenbaum, 2003 Cunningham & Mathews, 2007 Conley, 2007 Schneider, 2007

Keystone skills such as problem solving and critical thinking, when properly honed, can be transferred into the college classroom, or into a career

See Texas CCRS (Closing the Gaps, 2008) Based on Conley 2007 New Jersey Partnership for 21st Century Skills (Closing the Gaps, 2008)

Embed "keystone" skills and knowledge and cognitive crossdisciplinary skills in curriculum

According to the research, these knowledge and skills are needed for college and career success

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