Twenty-one high schools in four states are working this fall to restructure their academic programs into “lower division” and “upper division” courses that are aimed at readying all students for community college by the end of their sophomore year.
Students who pass a series of exams, at that point, could leave high school and enroll—without remedial courses—in a two-year college, or stay in high school to take additional technical coursework, or pursue studies that prepare them for a university.
The approach, modeled after “board-examination systems” in use in such countries as England, is part of a pilot programannounced last week by the National Center on Education and the Economy, a Washington-based advocacy group.
Schools in Arizona, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Mississippi have agreed to choose from specified packages of curricula and exams. For the lower division, in a student’s first two years, schools may use the ACT’s QualityCore program or the University of Cambridge’s International general-level program. For the upper division, schools may choose junior- and senior-level courses from ACT QualityCore, the Cambridge International A and AS level programs, the International Baccalaureate program, or the College Board’s Advanced Placement International Diploma Program. The programs include English/language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and the arts.
Marc S. Tucker, the NCEE’s president, said the idea is to ensure that every student acquires, at a minimum, the skills needed to succeed in community college, opening the possibility of proceeding smoothly into a variety of pathways offering good wages or more training. Read more.