Research from ACT and the Carnegie Corporation indicates that up to two-thirds of grade 11 students will score below the college readiness standard set by the new Common Core assessments. States will need to do more to ensure high school students are ready for college before they knock on the college door. While grade 11 Common Core assessments will advertise college readiness to students, states should not wait until the 12th grade to remediate. State policy can improve students’ access to effective strategies already vetted in postsecondary settings.
The Blueprint Initiative draws on state experiences and evidence-based practice to promote impactful state policy action. Selected charter states will use the Blueprint to develop and implement state-specific strategies to address the high numbers of students expected to fall short of college readiness benchmarks.
Who Drafted the Blueprint?
The project invited college completion, college readiness, Common Core and developmental education experts to provide input on the contents of the Blueprint. In consultation with partners and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ECS selected eight charter states to respond to the first draft of the Blueprint. These states used meetings in April and July to indicate how they would use the Blueprint to develop and implement state college readiness action plans for underprepared high school students.
What Does the Blueprint Contain?
The first Blueprint draft was developed after meeting with experts in March 2013. The Blueprint contains the following:
- Suite of instructional strategies that states could use to improve students’ college readiness
- Framework of actionable steps that states can take to create their own College Readiness Action Plans
- Articulation of challenges that states might encounter when implementing individual strategies or a comprehensive plan.
Experts identified strategies, action steps and implementation challenges for reforming high school, transitioning students in postsecondary education, andbridging gaps between both systems through integrated and mutually-reinforcing state goals, incentives and policies. These three areas serve as the key Blueprint anchors. Charter state teams have begun to frame their plans along these three domains.
What Is the Blueprint’s Purpose?
The Blueprint urges states to act now to anticipate the higher numbers of high schools identified as not college ready, but it is not a “one size fits all” policy framework. The document serves as a launch point for charter state teams to discuss what is timely and feasible in their state.