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Symposium Addresses College and Career Readiness

Barely a quarter of the 1.5 million graduating seniors met college readiness benchmarks.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gave the keynote address at the third annual Superintendents’ Symposium organized by testing agency ACT and school improvement solutions company America’s Choice, which had a theme of improving the college and career readiness of graduating high school seniors. National 2009 ACT scores released in August found just 23 percent of the record 1.5 million graduating seniors who took the test met all four college readiness benchmarks in English, math, reading and science, and just 70 percent took a core curriculum.

At the August 20-21 symposium, Duncan described the emphasis on college and career readiness as “a movement now sweeping the country,” and highlighted the reforming potential of the Department of Education’s $650 million Investing in Innovation fund, a competitive grant program with funds available to local education agencies that have used new programs to make measurable progress in raising student achievement.

ACT and America’s Choice also used the symposium to announce the launch of their new Rigor & Readiness initiative, a program of core syllabi and model units in 12 high school courses that also includes professional development resources, data management assistance, formative assessment and other tools for districts to ensure college and career readiness for graduates.