THE COLLEGE-READINESS GAP
The majority of high school graduates in the U.S. are not prepared to succeed in college. Seventy percent fall short of readiness in at least one major academic area. One in four students entering college requires remediation in core subjects, and nearly half do not graduate within six years. For socioeconomically disadvantaged students, college access and success are even more difficult.
Clearly, the existing college preparation and admissions paradigm is not working.
We want to equip more students with the skills they need to succeed in college. As a first step, we’ve created BetterRhetor’s College-Ready Writing Module, a six-week instruction and assessment module designed to help college-bound students prepare for the demands of college-level thinking and writing.
Our long-term goals include developing a STEM module along similar lines. A web-based platform for use in high school and college classrooms will deliver the instructional content of both modules, capture student work, and generate authentic readiness assessment information.
- Instruction is aimed at bridging the gap between what students learn in high school and what is expected of them in college.
- Readiness assessment is seamlessly integrated into instruction: no test that doesn’t teach.
- Multiple modes of evaluation ensure reliability and validity.
- Key social, cognitive, and personal competencies are taught, elicited, and assessed as integrated dimensions of authentic academic performance.
- On-going actionable feedback is generated for both teachers and students.
- Equity-minded: no test-prep advantages, no cost barriers.
- Assesses both student products and processes.
- Provides measures of progress and promise, as well as achievement.
If we’re going to close the college-readiness gap, college-bound students need to know what will be expected of them. They need opportunities to practice and demonstrate the full range of their abilities by doing authentic, relevant intellectual work. They need socialization into authentic academic communities. And they need to know how to take responsibility for their own learning and performances.
We believe that every student who wants to pursue a college education should have access to instruction and assessment aimed directly at helping them succeed.