Alignment & Academic Preparation

Provide all students with the essential knowledge and skills needed for a successful transition into postsecondary learning by (a) improving curricular alignment from middle school to higher education, (b) giving students more opportunities to accelerate their learning, (c) eliminating the need for postsecondary remediation, (d) guaranteeing pathways to associate degrees and bachelor's degrees, (e) strengthening career-technical programs to ensure that every high school graduate is college- and career-ready, and (f) aligning learning outcomes with the 21st-century workplace.

What We Know

While three-quarters of high school graduates eventually go on to higher education, many discover they are not academically ready for postsecondary work. The painful truth is that high school completion does not equal college readiness, which means having the content and skills that enable a student to succeed at the next level, as reflected on placement assessments. At the same time that Compact members address remediation issues, they will focus on giving students more opportunities to accelerate their learning.

Strategic Actions

  • Improve the alignment of high school and higher education courses.
  • Substantially reduce the need for college remediation by urging all students to complete a rigorous, collegeprep curriculum and by offering developmental programs such as the College Prep-Math pilots, which are high school-college partnerships that involve placement testing and the delivery of pre-college math to prepare students for the college experience.
  • Assess all high school students' college readiness earlier, no later than the end of the junior year, using such standardized assessments as the ACT, COMPASS, PSAT, and SAT, and make the senior year more productive by offering remedial courses to those students who are not on a trajectory for postsecondary learning.
  • Start the college experience earlier by making the senior year more productive through dual enrollment, PSEO, IB, and AP courses.
  • Develop and deploy new approaches to teaching and learning that emphasize content mastery, STEM education, and digital learning.
  • Ensure that all career-technical programs meet College Tech Prep standards, offering students a seamless, rigorous sequence of academic and technical coursework culminating in postsecondary degrees and/or industry-recognized credentials.
  • Develop guaranteed pathways for students transferring from community colleges to universities.