Middle school years essential for college readiness, says academic skills expert

Lauren Williams's picture
Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tween Publishing is blazing the trail to true college readiness in grades 6-8. Tween is a small, boutique publisher started in 2007 by attorney-turned-teacher Susan Mulcaire. Along with other learning experts, Mulcaire believes the missing link to the success of the Common Core is good academic behaviors and habits of mind.

"True college readiness is two-pronged," Mulcaire advises, "Mastery of content, plus mastery of good academic strategies and habits of mind. Those are skills and traits which enable a student to persevere and succeed in learning, such as good study and organizational skills, productive learning habits, self-discipline, and effort."

"The remediation rate for first-year college students is abysmal," she comments. "But in most cases, it's not a matter of the student's intelligence. They're smart enough for college. The problem is, the student never learned how to manage their time and workload, nor did they master productive study and learning strategies. Sadly, that catches up to them in college."

Mulcaire believes that learning these skills is too important to delay until high school. "Once in high school it's 'Game On' in terms of college prep. It's essential that students enter high school with good study skills, and cognizant of personal learning strengths and weaknesses. These skills take time to develop and habituate so it's important to start early."

Tween's study skills curriculum The Middle School Student's Guide to Study Skills, includes lessons on the process of learning, metacognition, pre-learning strategies, Cornell notes, active reading and listening, textbook outlining, memory, recall, and test-taking strategies. "Students even get a jump on challenges they'll face in college, such as distance learning and information literacy," Mulcaire adds.

The Middle School Student's Guide to Ruling the World! is Tween's popular work habits, time management and organizational skills curriculum, which is followed by its fun introduction to postsecondary education in The Middle School Student's Guide to College.

"This series is a game-changer," says Mulcaire. "Now every middle school can make true college readiness a part of their school culture."

About the Author

Susan Mulcaire is a teacher and attorney from Orange County, CA. She holds degrees from UC Berkeley, Santa Clara University, and a teaching credential.

For more information, visit http://www.middleschoolguide.com/