Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Alignment as a postsecondary barrier

The Chamber of Commerce report on postsecondary education listed alignment as a barrier, saying in part:
Although progress has been made, appropriate connections – also called alignment – do not exist between and among all levels of education to ensure the success of students. A striking example of this is the misalignment of the state assessment for high school students, the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System or CATS, with the expectations for postsecondary-level study.
How can we answer the Chamber's concern as Kentucky moves to a new testing system?

First, postsecondary education must shape the next generation of high school academic standards. CPE and faculty members and P-12 leadership must come to a shared understanding of the knowledge and skill levels high school students should attain.

Second, assuming we test juniors in 2012, they'll graduate in the spring of 2013 and get their first grades in the fall of the same year. A systematic statistical analysis should be complete by the fall of 2014 on how well their high school scores correlate with their college grades. A similar analysis should be done annually and forever.

In between, we need a student data system that uniquely identifies each graduate, each graduate's high school grades and scores, and that graduate's college enrollment and grades. That's infrastructure we need anyway--and it's surely the kind of "shovel-ready" innovation project that the federal stimulus plan is ready to support.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!