"A large fraction of students are leaving the 12th grade with a high-school diploma, and they're about to begin a course of studies at the 8th grade level," said Marc Tucker, president of a Washington, D.C. think-tank, of its recently released a report on college readiness.
"What Does It Really Mean to Be College and Work Ready?" offers a stark assessment of the disparities among what high schools think students should know to succeed in college, what colleges expect students to be able to do, and what skills employers expect college grads to have upon being hired. In recent years, "college and career readiness" has become the benchmark goal of both the school reform movement and the college completion agenda. The report from the National Center on Education and the Economy suggests that achieving that objective might require a radical reassessment of what skills are taught when throughout all levels of the American education system.
The report is based on two empirical studies conducted over three years. NCEE randomly selected one community college in each of seven states, then examined eight of the most popular programs--accounting, automotive technology, biotech/electrical technology, business, criminal justice, early childhood education, information technology/computer programming, nursing, and the general education track. NCEE researchers examined the programs' textbooks, assignments and exams to see what math and English skills truly were necessary to succeed.