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K-12 Partnerships Encouraged to Improve College Readiness

Calling lack of college readiness a "national crisis," the American Association of State Colleges and Universities is encouraging higher education to work more closely with students and educators from preschool through high school.

The AASCU Task Force on College Readiness released a report this week outlining ways that colleges can partner with P-12 to improve students' academic skills, as well as personal characteristics, such as motivation and self-efficacy, needed to college success. Although many colleges are strapped for resources, the association is pushing its members to make the investment in supporting students before they come to college in hopes of improving completion rates.

"It is crucial for university presidents to work with P-12 leaders, school personnel, community leaders, and elected officials to ensure that students are prepared for college-level courses at the point of enrollment," the report says. "It is important that we not wait until children are in high school before intervening."

Specifically, the AASCU report says college-readiness programs should be a priority on all campuses and include:

1. Strong teacher-preparation programs;

2. Alignment between P-12 and postsecondary curricula;

3. Timely and useful feedback to high schools regarding the performance of their graduates; and

4. Availability of dual-credit programs and strategies to expand public-policy support to take this work to scale.

As efforts are being ramped up, AASUC recommends college-readiness programs be research-based, intentional and carefully planned, sustained by finances and personnel, and evaluated for effectiveness.

"Education is like a pyramid: Each level rests on what came before. Any weakness in a child's educational development jeopardizes all that follows, and gains made at an early age continue to benefit the child in future years," the report notes.

The AASCU Task Force on College Readiness was co-chaired by Tomás Morales, president of California State University, and Jim Votruba, president of Northern Kentucky University.

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