Seven Keys to College Readiness
Preparing for college really starts in elementary school—in fact, kindergarten—according to Montgomery County Public School officials in Maryland. Postsecondary education, whether a two- or four-year college or technical school, can help students prepare for new jobs that increasingly require some college education—nearly half of all new jobs in the next 10 years, they say.
However, students who only meet state high school graduation requirements may not be ready for college-level classes, so Montgomery County school advisors recommend that students who want to attend college consider ways to meet the following college-readiness criteria:
- Read at advanced levels in grades K–2.
- Score "advanced" on Maryland School Assessment for Reading in grades 3–8.
- Complete advanced math in grade 5.
- Complete Algebra I by grade 8 with a C grade or higher.
- Complete Algebra II by grade 11 with a C grade or higher.
- Score at least 3 out of 5 on the Advanced Placement Exam or at least 4 out of 7 on the International Baccalaureate exam.
- Score 1650 on the SAT or 24 on the ACT.
These demanding college-readiness milestones are specific to the academic program of one affluent suburban district near Washington, D.C., and the narrator is careful to note that missing one of them "does not close the door for any student."
After viewing the video, discuss whether your own school or district makes recommendations for preparing students for college entry. If so, how is your list similar to or different from those suggested in the video? Discuss what districts and schools should have (e.g., staffing, K–12 articulation, appropriate professional development) to make such solid preparation a reality for most or all of their students.
What other college-readiness factors, nonacademic or academic, would you add to this list?
ASCD Express, Vol. 7, No. 14. Copyright 2012 by ASCD. All rights reserved. Visit www.ascd.org/ascdexpress.