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Bridging the Gap

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Published on Jan 29, 2009

It is a stark indisputable fact that America's high school graduates are not ready for the rigors of college. According to one study, only 34 percent of all students finish high school with the minumum qualifications necessary for admission to a four-year postsecondary institution. Of the 40,000 freshmen admitted into the California State University system in 2007, more than 60 percent needed remediation in English or math.

While the nation's secondary schools bear much of the responsibility for these low college-readiness rates, colleges and universities have done a poor job of communicating the skills expected of incoming freshmen. They do an even worse job of providing effective remediation and extended support services to ensure that underprepared students eventually graduate: Only 30 percent of students who take remedial reading courses go on to obtain a postsecondary degree or certificate within eight years.

Ultimately, the low college readiness rate is a massive failure of the entire pre-kindergarten through college (Pk-16) system - a dysfunctional academic pipeline with weak standards and misaligned policies.

On January 29th at 1pm the New America Foundation will release a new report, Bridging the Gap: How to Strengthen the Pk-16 Pipeline to Improve College Readiness. This report explores the college readiness and remediation crisis and suggests concrete recommendations for Pk-16 reforms designed to ensure high school students obtain the knowledge and skills to be college-and workforce-ready.

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