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Implementation of High School-to-College Transition Courses in Four States

By: Elisabeth A. Barnett, Maggie P. Fay & Lara Pheatt

Abstract

Implementation of High School-to-College Transition Courses in Four States

Though college enrollment is on the rise, too many students continue to be underprepared for postsecondary coursework. To address this problem, a growing number of high schools across the country are offering transition courses, which aim to improve college readiness while students are still in high school.

This report describes findings from a qualitative study examining the implementation of transition courses in four states: California, New York, Tennessee, and West Virginia. The report draws on interviews with faculty, administrators, and students as well as classroom observations and publicly available documentation.

The implementation of transition courses varied across states, incorporating different curricular activities and pedagogical approaches to improve students’ knowledge and skills in the fundamentals of math and English. This report discusses the differences and similarities among the courses; it also describes associated professional development opportunities, the teachers and students who participated in the courses, and the obstacles and facilitators that the various actors experienced as they were implementing the transition courses in their respective states. It concludes by outlining issues that stakeholders at the state and local levels may wish to consider when implementing transition courses.