Questioning college and career standards.

Colleagues: You may be interested in this report from the National Center on Education and the Economy, May 2013. Entitled:  What Does It Really Mean to Be College and Work Ready? The Mathematics and English Literacy Required of First Year Community College Students.


Regarding literacy requirements the report states: “This study of initial credit-bearing courses in community colleges suggests that only modest reading and writing demands are placed on students in these courses. While texts assigned include content at about an 11th– 12th grade reading level, which is significantly more challenging than what they typically encounter in high school, the level of processing of those texts required by the assigned tasks is, at best, only modestly challenging in most courses. The one exception was English Composition, where high challenge levels are common. Students in the community colleges we studied are asked to retrieve information and sometimes integrate information from different texts in their writing, but only a few courses, outside of English Composition classes, ask students to reflect on and analyze what they read.”


Regarding mathematics, the report states: “Many community college career programs demand little or no use of mathematics. To the extent that they do use mathematics, the mathematics needed by first year students in these courses is almost exclusively middle school mathematics. … Based on our data, one cannot make the case that high school graduates must be proficient in Algebra II to be ready for college and careers.”


You can locate the study using a Google search.


Tom Sticht





I am looking forward to what impact this report will have on the College Placements test results and the subsequent placement of students in Developmental courses esp. in Math or Credit course. 

Of note is this part of the report: 

"Many community college career programs demand little or no use of mathematics. To the extent that they do use mathematics, the mathematics needed by first year students in these courses is almost exclusively middle school mathematics. But the failure rates in our community colleges suggest that many of them do not know that math very well. A very high priority should be given to the improvement of the teaching of proportional relationships including percent, graphical representations, functions, and expressions and equations in our schools, including their application to concrete "

More evidence to focus on foundational Math skills as we prepare our students for their high school diploma and beyond.

You can find the report details here.

Best, Priyanka