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How States Are Implementing Transition Curricula: Results From a National Scan

By: Maggie P. Fay, Elisabeth A. Barnett & Octaviano Chavarín

Abstract

How States Are Implementing Transition Curricula: Results From a National Scan

While many states have strengthened their high school graduation requirements over the last decade, too many graduates are still underprepared for college. In response to this problem, states across the country are administering early college readiness assessments that measure 11th grade students’ readiness to successfully perform entry-level, credit-bearing postsecondary coursework. In addition, some states are combining these assessments with transition curricula for students who are not college ready.

Transition curricula consist of a course, a set of modules, online tutorials, or other educational experiences offered no later than 12th grade to students who are at risk of being placed into remedial mathematics, reading, or writing when they enter college. The availability of transition curricula gives help to students who can enroll in a course or other activity in an attempt to become better prepared and possibly avoid remediation altogether.

This brief provides a high-level perspective on the availability of transition curricula across the United States over time. Findings are based on a search of literature and Internet resources to find any references to transition curricula in each of the 50 states and Washington, DC; a survey administered to state agency representatives asking for information on transition curricula, and brief follow-up interviews with officials from selected states to gather more information when necessary. The brief also offers insights into the amount of variation that is found in terms of curricular design and goals, subject-area focus, how students are selected to participate, and whether completion of transition curricula guarantees placement into college-level courses.