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Top Ten College Bound Posts in 2013

Looking back at 2013, readers following the transition from high school to college and careers were interested in a range of issues from finances to academics, according to a look at the ten most-viewed posts from this blog. 

The good news for students was that after years of skyrocketing tuition increases, the cost of college rose at a slower pace. Still, families and educators were concerned about how to pay for college, as evident in the traffic for blog posts related to financial literacy and tax credits. Readers were also drawn to posts on how to better prepare students for the rigor of college, as many enter with high hopes but still nearly half don't complete a degree—and success varies widely depending on the type of institution.

So, here's a list of the top 10 posts that grabbed readers.

1. Financial Literacy Standards Rolled Out for K-12

The Council on Economic Education came out with National Standards for Financial Literacy that gave teachers a framework for teaching students from elementary through high school about earning and income, buying goods and services, managing credit, saving, financial investing, and protecting themselves with insurance.

2. Career Technical Education Linked to Boys' High School Survival

A study discussed at a gathering of the Association of Career and Technical Education revealed the power of career technical education in engaging boys in high school. Earning three or more CTE credits within a focused sequence of courses was second only to 9th grade students' GPAs as the strongest variable affecting high school survival for boys.

3. College Tax Credits Saved in Fiscal-Cliff Deal

Last January, Congress approved a five-year extension of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which allows families to get a up to a $2,500 tax credit annually for expenses related to higher education.

4. Are Students Ready for College? High School Teachers: Yes; College Professors: No

The gulf between high school and college expectations was apparent in an ACT report released last year. A survey found 89 percent of high school teachers considered their students are "well" or "very well" prepared for college-level work in the subject they teach, while just 26 percent of college instructors thought incoming students were "well" or "very well" prepared for entry-level courses.

5. GED Testing Service Rolls Out Online Test Prep and Support

Big changes are coming to the General Educational Development credential test in January of 2014 with most states offering more rigorous exams on computers. This prompted the GED Testing Service to start individualized online support to better prepare students with practice tests and feedback on their readiness.

6. In Many States, Graduation Requirements Fail to Align With Common Core

The 8th annual report from Achieve, a Washington-based research and advocacy group, showed that the level of progress implementing the Common Core State Standards varied widely and many states have not adopted high school graduation requirements that align with new benchmarks.

7. Student Performance on AP Exams Improves

Results of the Advanced Placement exams continue to be closely watched by readers. The College Board reported that about 32 percent of graduates from the Class of 2012 took at least one AP exam, up from about 30 percent the year before and more students scored a 3 or higher on the exams than the previous year.

8. Dartmouth to Stop Accepting AP Credit in Fall 2014

The Ivy League university in New Hampshire decided it would no longer grant incoming students credit based on AP test scores starting in the fall of 2014. While various reasons were initially discussed, the institution maintains that the primary driver is a desire for students to take courses on campus from Dartmouth faculty.

9. Academics Not Only Factor in College Success, ACT Report Says

ACT scores that deem a student college-ready can only predict so much about students' college-going and completion patterns. A study this year by ACT discovered that many academically ready students did not enroll in college after high school graduation and others did not return after their freshman year.

10. Arne Duncan Unveils Plans for Principal Ambassador Program

The U.S. Secretary of Education unveiled plans to bring outstanding principals to Washington to advise his department on education policy.

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