Strengthening High School Teaching and Learning in New Hampshire’s Competency-Based System Report
January 22, 2013
For a century, most students have advanced from grade to grade based on the number of days they spend in class, but in New Hampshire, schools have moved away from “seat time” and toward “competency-based learning,” which advances students when they have mastered course content. This report profiles how two high schools in New Hampshire made this shift and examines the changes that were necessary to make competency-based advancement an important part of New Hampshire’s strategy for implementing the Common Core State Standards and ensuring that students graduate ready for college and a career.
The Common Core State Standards spell out the sophisticated language competencies that students will need to perform in academic and technical subject areas. English language learners (ELLs) face a double challenge—they must learn grade-level content while simultaneously building their language proficiency. This policy brief discusses these challenges, highlights initiatives and strategies to advance ELLs' language and content learning, and outlines how policy and practice must change to help ELLs graduate ready for college and a career.
Confronting the Crisis: Federal Investments in State Birth-Through-Grade-Twelve Literacy Education Policy Brief
March 31, 2012
Literacy is one of the most critical components of academic success, but the majority of students are leaving high school without the reading and writing skills needed to succeed in college and a career. According to ACT, fewer than 40 percent of black and Latino students are ready for college-level reading when they graduate from high school. This policy brief describes two state-led initiatives—the English language arts common core state standards, and comprehensive birth-through-grade-twelve state literacy plans—to help all young people attain the advanced literacy skills needed to succeed in the modern world. It concludes with a set of policy recommendations to invest fully in efforts to catalyze nationwide improvements in literacy achievement.
Accelerating the College and Career Readiness of the Nation's Students (State Cards)
May 26, 2011
Call for Action: Transforming Teaching and Learning to Prepare High School Students for College and Careers Policy Brief (PDF)
August 12, 2010
Principles for a Comprehensive Assessment System Policy Brief (PDF)
February 25, 2010
The United States is poised to make the most dramatic advance in assessment in decades. A state-led effort to develop common core standards in literacy and mathematics is defining what it means to be ready for colleges and careers, and this effort will invariably heighten the demand for assessments that measure a broader range of knowledge and skills and open the door for common assessment components across states. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Education is providing $350 million for consortia of states to develop new assessments that measure the common core standards. And a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) will set guidelines for assessments and their use for years to come. This opportunity could not be more timely. There is widespread concern that the most prominent assessments currently being used in the United States are inadequate and may have a significantly negative impact on student learning. This brief suggests the principles upon which the federal government and states should base their work in fashioning new assessments. Recognizing that no single test can fulfill all the needs for information by all stakeholders, it suggests the need for a comprehensive system of assessments. Most importantly, the brief argues that this system needs to be coherent and cohesive, aligned to standards for college and career readiness.
Common Standards: The Time Is Now Issue Brief (PDF)
December 17, 2009
After years of debate, the nation is now taking a bold step toward ensuring that all students graduate ready for college and careers. Under the leadership of the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, a panel has drafted a set of Common Core State Standards for college and career readiness. These standards will raise expectations for all students and will be the same no matter where students happen to live. That would represent a sea change in American education, one that is sorely needed. The wide variations that currently exist are unacceptable and are especially harmful to low-income students and students of color. All states and schools should expect every student to graduate from high school ready for college and careers. This brief outlines the need for common standards that are rigorous, clear, and focused and suggests ways that common standards will help lay the foundation for a stronger education system that will prepare all students for college and careers.
As the nation embraces the goal of graduating all students college and career ready, there is a growing movement to realign standards, assessments, and accountability systems to that goal. Meaningful Measurement: The Role of Assessments in Improving High School Education in the Twenty-First Century, is a collection of essays by leading experts that discuss important assessment issues, examines promising assessment practices from across the globe, and offers recommendations on how the federal government can support an assessment agenda for the twenty-first century. Topics include: assessments that measure students’ college and career readiness, performance assessments, the role of benchmark assessments, assessing high school students who are English Language learners and students with disabilities, the benefits of international assessments, the role of technology in improving assessments and their use, and how assessment design affects the implementation of a growth model at the high school level.
From No Child Left Behind to Every Child a Graduate Report (PDF)
August 28, 2008
This report outlines the Alliance for Excellent Education’s Framework for Action to Improve Secondary Schools, which reflects the consensus among educators, researchers, policymakers, and other authorities on the specific problems of secondary schools, as well as on the research- and best-practice-supported solutions to those problems. Taken together, the seven policy areas contained within the framework offer a comprehensive and systemic approach to secondary school reform.