March 6, 2017


A new report, Destination Known: Valuing College and Career Readiness in State Accountability Systems , urges state K-12 systems to place a greater emphasis on student preparation for and success in postsecondary education when establishing performance goals for high schools. The report, authored by Education Strategy Group and the Council of Chief State School Officers , recommends aligning these goals with state postsecondary attainment goals.  The recommendations are timely because all states are in the process of setting new K-12 accountability benchmarks in response to the federal ESSA requirements. The report is a reminder of how important it is for higher education leaders to inform those decisions.
Last month, Shannon Gilkey, Organizer for Higher Ed for Higher Standards and Director at Education Strategy Group, penned a blog post for the Hunt Institute, " Accelerate Student Transitions. Attack Education's Toughest Challenges. " Highlighting TN SAILS and Smart Scholars in NY , this blog focuses on scaling successful models to smooth student transitions from K-12 to postsecondary into credit-bearing coursework. 

Remembering Stan Jones: A Game Changer (1949-2017)

Stan Jones, who transformed education in Indiana and throughout the nation as a long-time state legislator, Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education, and founder and president of the national nonprofit Complete College America , passed away peacefully at his home in Indianapolis on Monday, February 6th. Stan founded Complete College America (a Higher Ed for Higher Standards partner) in order to build a network of states committed to substantially increasing the number of Americans with a postsecondary credential. Under his leadership, the organization grew to 42 member states and institutional consortia and advanced an ambitious agenda to revolutionize the nation's higher education systems and close attainment gaps for underrepresented populations. Stan will be sorely missed, but his contributions to educational access and excellence will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of students across the country for years to come. 


The Louisiana Board of Regents and the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education are collaborating to tackle an all too common problem: too many students aren't ready for college when they graduate. "Our initiative is to have those remedial issues fixed in high school," Joseph Rallo, Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education, said in The Advertiser , "Before (61) percent of students graduate and need remediation in math, let's fix it in high school or in the summer before they go to college. That is our recommendation." These recommendations focus on three issues: the need for remediation, opportunities to remediate in high school and how to pay for it, painting a comprehensive picture of the state's education systems, needs, assets, gaps, and barriers in response to Act 619. For more information on how precollege interventions can improve preparedness and reduce remediation, check out our alignment brief.

A new report, Seamless Pathways: Bridging Tennessee's Gap Between High School and Postsecondary, outlines recommendations to "radically change the system so that most [Tennessee] students enter and complete postsecondary education." Less than one-quarter of high school seniors from the graduating class of 2008 received a postsecondary degree or credential within six years of high school graduation, pointing to a need to accelerate attainment to reach Drive to 55, the state's postsecondary attainment goal. Based on focus groups from across the state, the report suggests fostering collective responsibility for the postsecondary preparedness among K-12 faculty and staff and ensuring all students have equitable access to course opportunities to increase readiness and success, including TN SAILS. For more information on how TN SAILS can improve preparedness and reduce remediation, check out our alignment brief.


Redesigning Remediation through 'Learning to Learn'
Boston College 's Learning to Learn model is getting results - 95 percent of the 150+ low-income, underrepresented and first-generation college students who completed the course in the last decade successfully earned a degree in four years. This alternative to remedial courses teaches critical thinking, reading, note-taking and test preparation skills through a 3 credit course, leading to "sustained, long term impact" in the way students learn. For more information, read the full article from the Washington Post here, or check out our report Seizing the Moment for more information on the ways colleges are transforming first year experiences, including remediation.
We don't know how many students in college aren't ready for college. That matters.
Higher education leaders are familiar with the challenges of remediation. But a recent article from The Hechinger Report highlights a different facet of the issues surrounding remediation: in many cases, we don't have reliable data. K-12 and postsecondary partnerships are deepening their focus on producing "college-ready" graduates, while increasing supports for underprepared students - but without better data, it's hard to tell whether any of this is working. Read the full article here or check out our new report, Destination Known: Valuing College and Career Readiness in State Accountability Systems, for more information on the importance of good data in measuring student progress and success.

This month we joined @AchieveInc 's  #ClassesCount  conversation on Twitter to ensure that students don't just meet the bare minimum requirements to graduate from high school, but instead think carefully about the classes they'll need to succeed in whatever comes next. 
Follow us @edstrategygroup  for more updates. 

About Higher Ed for Higher Standards

Higher Ed for Higher Standards is a growing coalition of higher education leaders who believe aligned expectations and strong partnerships between K-12 and postsecondary leaders are critical to improving student success.  Join us!
Higher Ed for Higher Standards is an initiative of Education Strategy Group. For more information about our other work, please visit our  website .

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