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College Readiness

**Bitter, C., Chaney, K. & Henne, M. (2007, November). Meeting 5 summary. Adolescent English learners: instructional content for college and career readiness. Palo Alto, CA: California Collaborative on District Reform. Not available online.


**Bitter, C. (2009, March). Meeting 9 summary. An agenda for equity and access: structuring success for all students. Palo Alto, CA: California Collaborative on District Reform. Not available online.


These summaries of two previous Collaborative meetings provide linkages to previous conversations the group has had on the topic of access to post-secondary success. Meeting 5 in Sacramento focused in large part on the meaning of college readiness and its implications for English learners (ELs), particularly with respect to the language skills necessary to access core academic content in high school and to succeed in college and/or career. Meeting 9 in Fresno touched both upon issues of access as well as student placement to ensure access.


**Kline, C. & Williams, E. (2007, October). Transitioning out of high school: A quick stats fact sheet. Washington, D.C.: National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research. Available at FactSheet.pdf.


This fact sheet summarizes information on trends for college preparedness, showing that, although a secondary degree provides large economic benefits, many students are not adequately prepared for college, especially students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and that this has large costs for both individuals and the workforce as a whole.


Bangser, M. (2008). Preparing high school students for successful transitions to postsecondary education and employment. Washington, DC: National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research. Available at HSStudentsforTransition_073108.pdf.


This issue brief argues that high schools must increase the rigor and relevance of their curriculums and align their expectations with those of postsecondary educational institutions and employers to adequately prepare students for postsecondary school and/or career. The author presents key implementation questions (e.g., should programs be broad-based or targeted) and outlines specific interventions and general approaches for high schools to consider, including counseling supports and collaborations with postsecondary institutions.


Alliance for Excellent Education. (2006). Paying double: Inadequate high schools and community college remediation. Washington, D.C.: Author. Available at


This issue brief explores the costs associated with providing remediation classes in community colleges. Currently, remediation costs the United States $3.7 billion in lost wages, government costs, and tuition costs. The brief closes with possible ways to reform high schools and prepare students for college and career.


Conley, D. T. (2007). Toward a more comprehensive conception of college readiness. Eugene, OR: Educational Policy Improvement Center. Available at


The author notes that the current definition of college readiness, based on high school courses taken, grades, and scores on national tests, is outdated and limited. Conley argues for a more expansive definition that accounts for and connects four areas—habits of mind, key content, academic behaviors, and contextual skills and awareness. The author discusses different ways to measure this expanded definition, including the gathering of classroom evidence, end of course exams, and questionnaires. The report concludes with implications of this expanded definition and explores what schools and students can do to achieve college readiness. (Note: This piece was previously provided as a key reading in preparation for Meeting 5 and so we have included it here electronically.)


Gandara, P. & Hopkins M. (2008). Benchmarking improvements for students of color and English learners. In D. Plank (Ed.), Conditions of Education in California in 2008 (pp. 5-15). Berkeley, CA: Policy Analysis for California Education. Available at


In this chapter from a larger report about the conditions of education in California, the authors discuss the achievement gaps among subgroups of students in California on a wide range of indicators, including CST scores, CAHSEE results, and a-g completion rates. The authors then present two preliminary recommendations. First, the state should set benchmarks to measure progress on equalizing resources and closing the achievement gap. Secondly, California’s accountability system should include multiple “opportunity measures,” including student engagement. (Note: This piece was previously provided as a key reading in preparation for Meeting 9 and so we have included it here electronically.)


**This document is considered a priority reading.