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Reading Roundup: College Remediation, New York Tests

Hot on the heels of last week's White House summit on community colleges, the Hechinger Report takes a look at the phenomenon of community college students getting mired in remedial education. The American Institutes for Research has put a pricetag on what it costs to educate college students who drop out after their freshman year. All of which only adds urgency to the question of what secondary schools must do to lay a strong foundation for students to do well in college, and what higher-ed must do to adequately support them once they're on campus.

The New York Times analyzes factors that contributed to the outcry over state testing there. In Houston, one middle school ignores the party line about smaller class sizes being better, with interesting results.

And in North Carolina, they're eliminating the gateway tests that were designed to end social promotion from 3rd, 5th, and 8th grades. Turns out that they didn't really hold many kids back and were full of loopholes. It's part of an effort there to design a new accountability system that would revamp ways of judging student and school performance.

While reading about the North Carolina dialogue, note the reference to a delayed decision on how to gauge how well high schools are building students' college- and career-readiness. Should we use the ACT college-entrance exam for that? Should we use the SAT? What is the best proxy? North Carolina will hardly be alone in trying to figure this out. Remember those Race to the Top assessment consortia? Their raison d'etre is measuring mastery of the common standards, which are all about college and career readiness.

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