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Articles: College & Career

The substantial number of high school graduates who land in higher education unprepared academically and have to take remedial courses to catch up are more likely than other students to quit before earning a two- or four-year diploma. Now, districts in several states are intervening more aggressively than in the past to better prepare struggling high school students for college-level classes.

 Tom Bailey, director of the Community College Research Center at Teacher’s College at Columbia University, says students who take remedial courses are less likely to stay in college.

Nearly two-thirds of all community college students are referred to “developmental education,” typically in English or math, says Tom Bailey, director of the Community College Research Center at Teacher’s College, Columbia University.

But less than half of the students complete the remedial class, and that number drops sharply for students who are forced to take more than one. The completion rate for students taking three classes, for instance, is in the single digits, Bailey says.

A new state law requires Arizona school districts to teach financial literacy skills. Arizona joins 24 other states that mandate some degree of K12 financial literacy instruction.

Missouri, Tennessee, and Utah, which require students to take one semester of financial literacy in high school, have the strongest laws while other states, like Arizona, are only required to blend financial literacy into other subjects, such as math or economics.

Native American students face a dropout rate of over 12 percent—more than double that of their white peers and higher than that for black and Asian students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

High teacher turnover rates and few native teachers in the classroom are part of the problem, says David Thomas, a U.S. Department of Education spokesperson. The Indian Education Professional Development Grant seeks to change that by providing Native Americans a chance to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree and become teachers or administrators.

Since 2004, overall interest in STEM majors and careers among high school seniors has increased by more than 20 percent, according to a new report from STEMconnector, an online STEM news source. And the southern states of the U.S. have the highest concentration of students interested in STEM, at 36 percent, compared to other regions.

Released in February, the “Where are the STEM Students?” report revealed that mechanical engineering was the most popular major or career choice among STEM-interested students, at 20 percent, while biology was second at 12 percent.

While the goal of the Common Core initiative is to establish clear, measurable standards for K12 students, an educational change is imminent. And speech and debate are considered the kinds of skills that will help students meet or master the standards.

Although school counselors play an important role in students’ college and career readiness, a lack of training and focus on this task often impedes their work, according to the 2012 National Survey of School Counselors. This can directly impact student success, the survey found, since students in schools where counselors are trained and held accountable for college-related activities are more likely to go to college.

Students from a NAF Academy of Engineering in San Francisco gain internship experience on construction sites of major transit projects.

A new assessment system for high school students providing multiple measures of college and career readiness launched this fall, helping students in career-themed public high schools understand what skills they need to enter the 21st-century workforce. The National Academy Foundation (NAF), the largest developer of career-themed public high schools in the country, partnered with education research agency WestEd to create the multi-method test, marking a move toward more effectively measuring college and career readiness.

For generations, teachers in the early elementary years have urged their young pupils to use their brains. They’re still offering the same encouragement, but nowadays they can know even more about what they’re talking about.

Recent advances in neuroscience—from detailed scans of the brain to ongoing research on teaching methods that increase cognitive development—have ushered in a new era of “brain-based” education.

ACT announced recently it will expand its assessment reach to students across K12. ACT’s “next generation” of assessments, as it is called, will assess students in grades 3 to 12 beginning in 2014 and then expand to include all students, beginning in kindergarten. The plan was met with mixed reviews from those resistant to more testing. However, with the latest 2012 ACT score results, released Aug. 22, revealing that 60 percent of graduates are not prepared for college and careers, the additional assessments seem to have merit.

We are in the midst of a significant transformation in K12 education as we focus on getting our students ready for success in college and careers and to compete in the global economy.
Previously, to prepare for state assessments, we provided teachers with pages upon pages of standards in each subject area. Often, however, there wasn’t enough time to cover them all. Moving at such a rapid pace made it easy for students to become surface learners. Through memorization and rote learning, they mastered enough to get by on the next test but didn’t necessarily absorb the information.

With a vast number of new software and Web-based reading programs on the market, students of all ages and abilities can target specific reading skills, such as comprehension, fluency, phonemic awareness and vocabulary. In addition, access has changed greatly over the last couple of years. Students no longer need to be in a computer lab to use Web-based programs; they can use laptops or tablets as part of a one-to-one computing program or their own devices if their school has a bring-your-own-device policy.

When I was a kid, not a week went by that I didn’t make a trip to the big library about a 25-minute drive from where I lived in rural western New Jersey. It was a love/hate thing for my mom; she loved that I loved the books and the learning that went with them, but it wasn’t always the easiest of rides after a long day at the desk of her 9-to-5 job. Still, she rarely said no.

girl with boy senior year

As a growing number of states push to make the senior year of high school more rigorous, others are working to make the year a more meaningful experience that moves beyond academics.

The senior year of high school has long been considered a lost year, a time when many students have earned most of their high school credits and have been accepted into college. With few requirements and little pressure, students often slack off in a common affliction known as "senioritis."

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