Teaching in the adult education classroom for over 10 years, I celebrated the gradation of hundreds of students and cheered on many students who decided to take the step into college. Darlene is one of those students and she had a goal to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree. Now, over $25,000 in debt and without a completed degree, I wondered what went wrong. Although my students were passing their GED® Tests and entering college, their experiences have been very similar to Darlene’s. I knew I needed to explore what went wrong. Statistics show that only 27% of students who need remedial math reach degree completion. I needed to evaluate what it really means to be college and career ready so that my students can success.
To be college ready, a student must possess the background knowledge and skill set needed to enroll and succeed in credit-bearing college courses without needing remediation. Career ready means that a person has employment that provides a sustaining wage with opportunity to job advancement. Students must have a combination of rigorous academic and soft skills to be college and career ready once they leave the adult education classroom. The number of students who are not ready for college is staggering.
- 1/3 of students entering college require remedial education before entering college level courses.
- 70% students in developmental math don’t complete the courses.
- Nearly 4 out of 5 remedial students who enter college have a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- In a report released today from ACT, there is NO state with more than 55% of their ACT-tested graduates meet three or more college readiness benchmarks.
What does that mean for adult education programs, teachers, and students? It means that we must implement the Common Core Standards in our instruction. The Common Core Standards were developed as a result of the College and Career Readiness Standards. The ultimate goal is to have programs and teachers provide students with content rich curriculum and robust assessments that are aligned with the standards. These standards are geared to promote higher-level thinking and application of knowledge.
Students will be expected to be able to fluently read, comprehend, and interact with a balance of literature and informational texts that very in complexity. Based on material presented, students will be expected to provide and support an argument in exploratory text. The Reading Standards supplement content standards for History / Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. This means that while students are now expected to learn specific information in a content area, they will also be required to meet the challenges of reading and writing in these domains.
Students who meet the Standards readily undertake the close, attentive reading that is at the heart of understanding and enjoying complex works of literature. They habitually perform the critical reading necessary to pick carefully through the staggering amount of information available today in print and digitally. They actively seek the wide, deep, and thoughtful engagement with high-quality literary and informational texts that builds knowledge, enlarges experience, and broadens worldviews.
The high school math standards are divided into conceptual themes: number and quantity, algebra, functions, modeling, geometry and statistics and probability. Ultimately, students need to be able to problem solve complicated problems by developing problem solving skills. Explore this video to explore the Math Standards.
Ultimately, the implementation of instruction and curricular choices based on the Common Core Standards will assist adult learners not only pass a high school equivalency exam, but be prepared for post secondary education and career growth. In students like Darlene, the appropriate preparation would have made her a college graduate, not an unfortunate statistic.
From the desk of Kathy Tracey, i-Pathways Project Coordinator.