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Re-Envisioning College Readiness Reforms

By Christine Mokher, Elisabeth A. Barnett, Daniel M. Leeds & Julie C. Harris
Re-Envisioning College Readiness Reforms

There is nationwide concern about the number of high school students who graduate unprepared to take college-level courses and about students’ lack of awareness of their college readiness. An increasingly popular state policy response is to offer an early assessment of college readiness while students are still in high school, followed by college readiness or “transition courses” by grade 12 for students who score below a certain threshold.

Florida was one of the first states to adopt a policy of this kind, and it is one of the only states where a long-term evaluation has been completed. Findings indicate considerable variation across districts and schools in the implementation of the program, dubbed the Florida College and Career Readiness Initiative (FCCRI), and researchers have found few discernable effects on students’ postsecondary success.

In this Change Magazine article, the authors begin by examining how the FCCRI was intended to improve college readiness and provide a summary of research findings on the initiative’s effectiveness. Insights from Florida and other states suggest ways that college readiness reforms can be better designed and the supportive conditions that may improve student success. These findings also have implications for how K–12 and postsecondary educators can collaborate to increase student success in college, particularly by improving transition courses.